Texas Border Business
McAllen, Texas – Organized as a bilingual and binational event that sought to gather experts from both sides of the Border, South Texas College’s Business Administration Department hosted a unique conference discussing possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Titled “Renegotiating NAFTA: Challenges and Opportunities” the conference was held to understand how NAFTA renegotiations could change the quality of life in South Texas and was a forum to discuss how potential changes could affect the regional economy.
“For the Texas border, I would say the impact of NAFTA is positive,” said Jesus Cañas, senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas at the conference. “According to our estimates, one out of every five jobs that were created between 1994 and 2016 was due to trade and cross-border manufacturing. The capital income in these four major border cities (McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso) is closer to the national average now than before NAFTA.”
The event was specifically geared to the border, covering issues that stand to directly influence the region including investment and job creation in relation to NAFTA renegotiations.
The conference brought together foremost economic experts and thinkers from both sides of the border. In attendance for panel discussions along with Cañas was Dr. Marco Rojo, professor of economics at Universidad Internacional Iberoamericana UNINI Mexico; Dr. John Sargent, professor of Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and Dr. Russel Adams, chair of the Department of International Business and Entrepreneurship at UTRGV.
Streaming in briefly via video conference was Dr. Javier Orozco, professor of economics at Universidad de Guadalajara; and Antonio Lugo, representative of the National Executive Committee of the PRI party in Morelos, Mexico.
Discussions on NAFTA were held at STC as trade negotiators from Mexico and Canada begin to outline the details of a new deal, possibly within weeks. Talks are currently heated as negotiators begin discussing U.S. proposals for government procurement, intellectual property, and treaty expiration, according to news reports.
“NAFTA is being renegotiated, and it is going to impact both sides of the border. This is the time, and this is the moment to be discussing this,” said Dr. Kevin Peek, associate professor of Economics at South Texas College. “It’s important that we have a conference that is binational because if we are going to look at this issue, we all need to be looking at both sides of the border, and we need to be working together to find solutions to what might be some very unfavorable results coming from the NAFTA renegotiation process.
“We all need to come together because it can affect all of us,” Dr. Peek said.
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