How to Boost Border Competitiveness? Just Ask the Folks There.

February 10, 2015

2/10/2015 Forbes.com

By Christopher Wilson and Erik Lee

border coverFor years, the United States’ southern border with Mexico has provoked a range of fears, from terrorism and drugs to overwhelming numbers of unauthorized immigrants, prompting a security-first and often security-only approach to border management. Fear-based rhetoric may resonate in the echo chambers of Washington DC, but it feels wholly out of touch to most (though not all) residents of border communities.

Thankfully, with U.S.-Mexico trade at historic highs and growing faster than trade with any other major trading partner, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the importance of safe and efficient border management to the regional economy. U.S.-Mexico trade is now valued at well over a half trillion dollars per year, 80 percent of which crosses the U.S.-Mexico land border. This trade supports around six million U.S. jobs, and systems of co-production in manufacturing allow companies to combine the comparative advantages of the United States and Mexico, boosting the competitiveness of North America as a whole.

These trends are leading some political leaders to the realization that many in the border region have known for years: the border itself creates a lot of economic opportunity for both nations. And these folks in the border region—popularly imagined to be barely hanging on in a hail of gunfire, even on the sleepy U.S. side—are careful observers of what works and what does not work in terms of trade and economic development. Knowing this, we joined several other organizations in a year-long deep dive into the inner workings of the U.S.-Mexico border economy. But then even we were surprised by the sheer number, variety and magnitude of ideas emanating from this enormous, misunderstood and underappreciated region.

Read more…


Report Sees Border Opportunities

February 4, 2015

2/3/2015 U-T San Diego

border coverRich in potential, the U.S.-Mexico border’s economic future can be strengthened through measures such as educational exchanges, renewable energy clusters, binational planning efforts, and improved connections among economic development groups on both sides of the border, according to a report released Tuesday.

The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition” focuses on the opportunities and challenges that face border communities in both countries. For all their differences, these communities face many common needs, the report states, chief among them the need for more fluid border crossings.

The 141-page report resulted from a collaboration among the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., the North American Research Partnership, the Border Legislative Conference and the Council of State Governments-West. Many of the recommendations incorporate issues raised during four regional competitiveness forums conducted last year in San Diego; Rio Rico, Ariz.; and Laredo and El Paso, Texas.

Read more…

Download the report here.


EVENT REMINDER! Report Launch: The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition

January 30, 2015

Border - Roadsign pointing between Nogales, mexico and TucsonWHEN: Tuesday, February 3rd, 9am-11am

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC

*A live webcast will be available.

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to the launch of the report, The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition. This report lays out the major issues involved in border region economic development, compiles the many innovative ideas developed at four forums, and weaves them into a series of policy recommendations that draw on the experiences of those who understand the border best: the individuals who live in border communities and who cross back and forth between Mexico and the United States as a part of their daily lives.

Speakers include: U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (28th District of Texas), U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke (16th District of Texas), U.S. Representative Juan Vargas (51st District of California), Antonio Ortiz Mena, Head of Section for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Mexico in the United States, Sue Saarnio, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State, Diputada Imelda Guadalupe Alejandro De La Garza, Border Legislative Conference Chair and member, Nuevo León State Legislature, among others.

RSVP for the event and see the full agenda here. 

Follow the conversation live on Twitter using the hashtag #BorderEcon @MexicoInstitute


Mexico Sets Auto Production Record, Aims for More

January 9, 2015

1/8/2015 The Wall Street Journal

autosEnjoying a strong tug from the growing U.S. economy, Mexico’s automotive industry logged record production and exports last year and expects output to rise further in 2015, industry officials said Thursday.

The auto makers produced more than 3.2 million vehicles, a nearly 10% increase over 2013, and exported 82% of them—overwhelmingly to U.S. consumers—said Eduardo Solis, executive president of the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.

With both existing and new factories ramping up, Mr. Solis predicted that Mexico could manufacture as many as 3.5 million light vehicles this year. He calculates annual production will total 5 million vehicles by the end of the decade.

“Mexico without doubt has an automotive sector that is a safe bet,” Mr. Solis said at a news conference.

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New Publication: Fostering Innovation in Mexico

December 10, 2014

Innovation2Mexicans are creative and entrepreneurial. Some of the world’s most notable and widely-used technologies have their roots in Mexico. Mexican chemist, Luis Miramontes, for instance, co-invented the progestin used in the first contraceptive pills. Mexican engineer, Guillermo González Camarena received the world’s first patent for the color television. And Mexican writer, Victor Celorio invented InstaBook, the technology that produces a perfect-bound book in one step and just two minutes. Mexico has a fine tradition of science and innovation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto is right to say, “Mexico should recognize, value, and take advantage of the great value of our human resources.” It is the Mexican entrepreneur that has been and will continue to be the strength of the nation’s economy and the driver of innovation.

To increase understanding of the benefits and challenges of innovation and to aid in the development of policy recommendations that encourage innovation in Mexico, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a High-Level Innovation Forum for Policymakers in November 2013. The forum covered several topics related to innovation, including: entrepreneurship, financing innovative businesses, regulation, spillovers between universities and companies and the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Questions examined at the forum included: How has the global economy changed, and what does it mean for innovation? How should we be thinking about innovation? What conditions are necessary for innovation to thrive? How can we attract greater investment for innovation activities? What types of government policies and regulations can strengthen innovation? How can we better integrate science and technology into practical applications? What are the barriers to innovation, and how can we overcome them? This publication summarizes the main themes of the conference and highlights some lessons learned. The purpose of this paper is to aid in ongoing dialogue, the next stage of which will take place in Washington, DC in November, 2014 (The publication is available both in English and Spanish).

Read the publication here.


Mexico’s economy to grow nearly 4 pct in 2014, report says

December 11, 2013

Global Post, 12/9/2013

drawing bar chartMexico’s economy will rebound in 2014 and grow 3.9 percent, compared to the 1.2 percent growth registered in 2013, insurer Credito y Caucion said in a report released Monday. “Mexico will be the exception in a changing pattern of growth in which the advanced markets will grow more while the emerging (markets) will continue leveling off” in 2014, Credito y Caucion said.

The company is a unit of Grupo Atradius, which operates in 45 countries. Mexico’s economy will rebound because of “its unique relationship with the United States,” the destination for nearly 80 percent of Mexican exports, Credito y Caucion said.

Read more…


North American Competitiveness: The San Diego Agenda

November 26, 2013

energy- oil pumps 2By Laura Dawson, Christopher Sands, and Duncan Wood

The San Diego Agenda came out of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC) held in San Diego October 27-29, 2013 where Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast, Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met to discuss “three countries, two borders, one economy.” In this publication, Duncan Wood, Chris Sands and Laura Dawson argue that North American economic integration must be deepened in order to compete more effectively globally.
Read the full publication here.

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