The 4th Annual Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border Conference was held at the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute on June 14th, 2017, in Washington D.C. Co-hosted by the Border Trade Alliance, the conference focused on improving border management aiming to fortify the competitiveness of both countries.
The guest speakers included
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
- Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan
- Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX)
- Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., Geronimo Gutierrez.
Speakers highlighted the importance of a collaborative bilateral framework, border and transportation infrastructure, binational economic development, and continuous efforts on both sides to support security and efficiency in border management.
On behalf of our region, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, provided remarks at the luncheon which focused on their pride for the San Diego/Tijuana relationship, and how our department directors meet on a monthly basis to discuss key issues of concern and promoting cross-border business.
Discussing the creation of border policy during a complex political environment, Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, commented “Trade is not a problem to solve; it’s an issue to focus on and expand.” The conference concluded with Chamber VP Paola Avila as moderator of the panel on Cross-Border Cooperation for Development: Megaregions, Clusters, and Binational Economic Development.
A key takeaway from this discussion is the importance of not regarding the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship as a win-lose relationship. The true power comes from working together. If the entire border region focused jointly on workforce development, businesses on both sides of the border could grow together. NAFTA’s success can be appreciated not solely on a national level, but in substantial profit creation in cities, border states, and particular industries.