To keep our economy growing, Congress must ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). For over 25 years, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have prospered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In addition to helping facilitate trade and business between our nations, NAFTA has empowered our continent to compete with Europe, Asia, and emerging markets the world over. The USMCA is a chance to modernize our continent’s trade agreement, with higher standards, and better policies that will help workers and businesses be even more competitive in the 21st-century economy.
As CEO of the only privately-funded economic development and policy organization that represents three states and two countries along the border, I’ve seen that free trade principles are the foundation of a stable and fruitful relationship with our North American neighbors. The Borderplex region (El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, NM) is the gateway of trade for the Americas and the fourth-largest manufacturing hub in North America.
In the years that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have operated under clear trade guidelines, exports to Canada and Mexico have tripled, manufacturing output in the United States has more than doubled, and our economy has improved significantly, and that’s no coincidence.
That is why I traveled to Washington, D.C. this past week—to encourage Congress to support the USMCA and build upon the quarter-century-old trade agreement. This bold and improved trade deal will address many of the outdated elements of NAFTA and ensure a level playing field for U.S. manufacturers to participate in international markets.
Notably, the USMCA will bring North American trade policy into the digital age by protecting intellectual property and promoting confidence in each economy’s market. This includes best-in-class protections for patents, trade secrets, trademarks, copyright, and regulatory data—the safety of which has fostered some of the greatest innovations in American history. These new rules will allow the market of ideas to thrive, pushing our communities toward greater innovation and technological improvement.
The USCMA will also allow data to move freely between partnering countries and protect proprietary source code, allowing businesses to focus resources on innovation instead of overbearing data regulation. The deal also contains new chapters on good regulatory practices and technical barriers to trade. These new rules will prevent discriminatory and unfair practices, and they will improve the reliability and accessibility of new markets for businesses in our region and across America.
The reality is, without a modernized trade agreement, Texas manufacturers alone, could face up to $37.3 billion in extra taxes, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. As a result, many manufacturers and businesses would lose sales to our global competitors.
Additionally, the USMCA will help keep the costs of goods and services low. Tariffs are after all nothing more than a consumer tax. An imposition of tariffs, or a consumer tax, will slow the purchases of goods and services, including essential commodities like food, clothing, and transportation.
The next step is congressional action to ratify this critical agreement. We need our U.S. Representatives and Senators in Congress to immediately declare their support and vote to ratify the accord soon. We cannot ignore the economic importance of free trade with Canada and Mexico. The fate of many businesses in the Borderplex region and the nation are on the line.
Jon Barela is the CEO of the Borderplex Alliance based in El Paso, Texas.
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On Monday, officials with he Borderplex Alliance and The City of El Paso announced that Teleperformance is opening an operations center in the Sun City.
Dee Margo, Mayor of El Paso, said, “We’re grateful to Teleperformance for selecting El Paso. Since day one of my administration I’ve been focused on bringing jobs to El Paso. With near-record low unemployment in El Paso and a string of great companies headed to the region, we are proud to welcome Teleperformance.”
Teleperformance, essentially a customer call center, describes themselves as “the global leader in outsourced omnichannel customer experience management.” According to their website, they operate in 80 countries worldwide.
Jon Barela, CEO, The Borderplex Alliance, said, “Economic development is competitive. It’s a victory when a company moves to our region, but when a company commits to hiring over 1,100 people in our community, there is much to celebrate.”
There was no word on the exact date that Teleperformance would be opening their doors, but officials with Borderplex Alliance shared that the company would be “seeking customer-oriented, and highly motivated employees.”
Travis Coates, Chief Operations Office, Teleperformace USA and Canada, said “We’re excited to come to El Paso. To be a leader in customer experience, you must hire the best people. That is what attracted us to El Paso. This community has a great workforce with the skills and the positive work attitude we are looking for. We thank The City of El Paso and The Borderplex Alliance for their help. We can’t wait to open our doors.”
For more information on Teleperformance, visit their website.
On Tuesday, officials with the Borderplex Alliance and The City of El Paso announced that Technimark would be expanding operations in El Paso.
“This expansion is a testament to how our value proposition is resonating strongly with our customers and prospects,” said Carlos Dias, Senior Vice President of Global Operations. “The only way to live up to that promise is to have the very best people combined with state-of-the-art systems and facilities. The commitment, ingenuity, and work ethic consistently demonstrated by our El Paso team is fundamental to the success we’ve had here. We’re proud to be a part of the community, and we’re very grateful for the support shown by El Paso city officials.”
To accommodate new business growth, the company is hiring an additional 104 employees in El Paso and converting 10,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space into Class 8 cleanroom and production support areas.
Moreover, the company is focused on using local contractors and sub-contractors for construction.
“We continue to vigorously work with our partners, not only to attract new businesses, but to develop existing businesses which generate a thriving local economy,” said Mayor Margo. “Technimark’s expansion adds value to our growing workforce by creating high-quality jobs and we’re grateful for their continued business with the City of El Paso over the years.”
“Technimark is a Borderplex region success story. The company is thriving, investing in the community, and expanding. Moreover, they are doing it with talent from our region. We couldn’t be more proud of the work they are doing and the example they are setting for business here,” said Jon Barela, CEO, The Borderplex Alliance.
Via a news release Technimark officials shared that while they currently employ 110 people in El Paso, they will need more employees.
“The company is actively seeking maintenance technicians, process technicians, and an automation engineer. In addition to highly competitive pay and benefits, Technimark offers employees a range of pathways to advance their careers, including Technimark University, a comprehensive in-house training program.”
Technimark provides injection-molded packaging, components and full-service solutions for the consumer packaging, healthcare, and industrial markets.
On Monday, officials with the Borderplex Alliance, The City of El Paso, and The County of El Paso announced that Foster Electric is expanding operations in El Paso.
The company is making a 4.2 million dollar investment in El Paso, retaining 32 full-time employees and creating an additional 40 full-time jobs in El Paso.
The jobs pay above the county median wage and will be primarily in automated speaker assembly manufacturing operations.
Jose Rangel, VP Operations El Paso, Foster Electric, said, “Foster Electric has been operating in El Paso for over 20 years. We have been successful with the efforts of our employees and want to continue to invest and grow here. Foster appreciates the support of The Borderplex Alliance, City and County of El Paso for their partnership and focus on economic development. ”
Dee Margo, Mayor, City of El Paso, said, “Foster Electric recognizes El Paso as a premier location to do business because of our talented workforce, quality of life and business friendly environment. This partnership shows that the City of El Paso is committed to growing and supporting local and existing businesses. I look forward to the expansion and opportunities that Foster Electric brings to region.”
Ruben John Vogt, El Paso County Judge, said, “Today’s approval of the Economic Development Incentives Agreement with Foster Electric marks another step in the County’s efforts to serve as a strong partner in our region’s development, aiming to define and establish standards, creating a path to long term economic growth. The company’s decision to expand their operations in east El Paso demonstrates their belief that the County is absolutely ‘open-for-business’ and is willing to step up and support their willingness to continue to grow in our community.”
Jon Barela, CEO, The Borderplex Alliance, said, “With operations all across the world, we understand that Foster Electric has a choice when deciding where they want to expand and invest. This expansion is further confirmation that our region is competitive and the right choice for business, manufacturing, trade, and commerce in the Americas.”
Foster Electric is one of the largest automotive speaker manufacturers in the world with 27,300 employees worldwide and revenues of 1.3 billion dollars per year.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the predominant subject during the keynote address of Wednesday’s U.S.-Mexico Border Summit at the El Paso Convention Center.
Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo addressed the hundreds in attendance about the current relationship between the two countries and the Trump Administration’s expressed desire to end the NAFTA agreement.
“This is not ‘business as usual’ for our relationship. It’s always bound to be complex and challenging, but for the most part in previous administrations there was a lot of effort put into mutual respect and understanding,” Zedillo stated.
Prior to being elected as Mexico’s President in 1994, Zedillo, obtained his master’s and PhD degrees from Yale University in economics. He went on to serve with the Bank of Mexico and was named deputy-secretary of Budget Control. Zedillo led the PRI party’s macroeconomic approach to government.
NAFTA was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and ratified in 1994 by President Clinton. For the most part, most economists agree that the agreement has been beneficial to the U.S. and say withdrawal or renegotiation of the agreement would negatively impact the United States economy, but more so Mexican economy.
“Is this going to be the end of the world?” Zedillo asked the audience. “No, I think it would be bad and uncomfortable for Mexico, but I think there are ways we can compensate if NAFTA is destroyed by the U.S. Government.”
During the 30 minute speech, Zedillo did not once address President Trump by name, instead, preferring to use the term “The American Executive.”
He is not the first former Mexican President that appears to have bad blood with the current administration. Vicente Fox, who succeeded Zedillo as Mexico’s President in 2000 has famously argued on Twitter with Trump’s insistence that Mexico was going to pay for the wall between the two countries.
Wednesday’s summit, which was hosted by the Borderplex Alliance, also featured other round tables and breakout sessions which included political and economic leaders from both sides of the border. The event is held annually to discuss issues facing the Border region.
Author/Photographer: Andra Litton – Special to the El Paso Herald-Post
On Monday, officials with the Borderplex Alliance and SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center announced that Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, will be a keynote speaker at the 2018 U.S. – Mexico Border Summit, on August 15th at the El Paso Convention Center.
Zedillo said, “I’m excited to join The Borderplex Alliance and SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center for the 2018 U.S. – Mexico Border Summit in El Paso, Texas. The Borderplex region historically has been an economically, politically, and culturally critical region for our two great nations. I’m looking forward to what promises to be an interesting day of dialogue and ideas at the 2018 U.S. – Mexico Border Summit.”
Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance added, “President Zedillo is largely credited as one of the key people responsible for the democratization of Mexico. I’m looking forward to hearing his insights on governing Mexico during a critical time in its history and his thoughts on the future of the U.S. – Mexico relationship. We’re proud of the program we put together and the partnership with the SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. Together we are hoping to elevate the discussion and make this the best summit yet.”
The 2018 U.S. – Mexico Border Summit will be held on August 15th, starting at 8 a.m. MT. The summit will include five panels covering trade, economics, politics, infrastructure, manufacturing, and more.
The summit will feature speakers, panelists, and experts from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Doña Ana County, The Mexico Center at the Baker Institute, The George W. Bush Institute, Union Pacific, the SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, The Hunt Institute, the North American Strategy for Competitiveness Organization, the City of Las Cruces, Texas A&M University, UTEP, the Albuquerque Journal, GRUMA, and others.
Luisa Del Rosal, Executive Director of the SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center said, “We’re thrilled to partner with The Borderplex Alliance for this year’s summit. Mexico is the largest export market for Texas, and Texas is the largest exporting state in the U.S. With NAFTA currently under negotiation, this conference is perfectly timed to examine what’s next and how it impacts the border, the state of Texas and both nations.”
The City of El Paso and its partners at the Borderplex Alliance were among dozens of development, policy and business leaders gathering in Houston this week at the Japan-Texas Economic Summit to foster connections and expand trade.
“Effective economic development is about relationships. To be successful at attracting new companies to our region we must foster relationships on a global platform. We are among the top 10 exporters in the nation so it makes sense that we would want to showcase El Paso at this international summit,” said Jessica Herrera, City of El Paso Economic and International Development Director.
The conference hosted by the US.-Japan Council featured keynote addresses from prominent leaders from both the United States and Japan while highlighting Texas cities and their economic development opportunities in areas of innovation, workforce development, energy, medicine, manufacturing, transportation, finance and much more.
“These are exciting times in El Paso. We are making every stride to pursue business opportunities that can grow our economy, our job market and ultimately our community’s standard of living. Participating in these economic summits, particularly those at an international level, allow us to share our achievements to attract companies and talent,” said Cary Westin, El Paso Deputy City Manager.
El Paso accounts for 13 percent of all goods exported form the state of Texas. The El Paso Foreign Trade Zone is the fourth largest exporter in the nation.
In 2017, the local trade zone moved more than $6.5 billion worth of goods, a 200 percent increase over the previous year.
On Tuesday, UPS announced plans for a new $41 million package operations center in El Paso that officials say will bring at least ten full-time jobs, paying above the El Paso County median wage.
“El Paso is the gateway to one of the most important industrial corridors in the U.S. – Mexico trade lane. UPS is one of the pistons helping drive the economic growth engine in this community,” said Craig Wiltz, president of UPS’s Red River District that includes Texas and Oklahoma.
“The new building positions UPS to increasingly support U.S. companies growing their cross-border commerce, as well as better serve the rapidly changing business and residential needs of our customers in West Texas,” Wiltz added.
El Paso’s new package operation center will be state of the art, with advanced package scanning and sortation equipment, adding more than 153,000 square feet of capacity to current operations. This advanced technology will help efficiently route packages through UPS’s smart global logistics network.
“UPS’ expansion and state of the art facility near the airport speaks to the strategic growth our community is experiencing. By increasing the number of direct flights, enhancing our exceptional quality of life and maintaining the largest bilingual bicultural workforce, El Paso will continue to attract new investment opportunities, to a region comprised of 3 States and 2 Countries,” said Mayor Dee Margo.
The new facility will also support the UPS Trade Direct Cross Border service, an integrated solution that simplifies the cross-border shipping process by allowing shipments to bypass distribution centers, shipping directly to retail stores or end consumers across Mexico/U.S./Canada borders.
“Aside from the added jobs, we’re excited to see UPS invest in a new facility and modernizing operations. Providing the incentive is a win/win for our community and the company given this helps increase UPS’s capacity while ensuring that our region’s residential and commercial customers receive efficient service, especially in light of the e-commerce boom across the nation,” said Ruben John Vogt, El Paso County Judge.
“Advanced logistics is a target industry in Borderplex’s 2020 strategic plan. UPS’s decision to invest in our community is yet another example why the Borderplex is the gateway for trade in the Americas,” said Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance.
The new package operation center is expected to begin operations in late 2018
Wednesday, Mayor Dee Margo and Borderplex CEO Jon Barela announced a partnership, along with civic and business leaders in the region, to submit a proposal for Amazon’s recently announced nationwide search for a second headquarters.
“Our region won’t take a backseat to anyone. El Paso should set its sights on big, ambitious projects that are reflective of the talented, ambitious people in our community. We are a competitive, smart choice for Amazon,” said Mayor Margo.
Over the last four years, Borderplex Alliance has been working with regional economic development partners, including the City of El Paso’s Economic Development department to recruit businesses to the region.
“No doubt El Paso has been thought of as an underdog in the past, but in the last decade, Fortune 500 companies have entered the marketplace successfully, finding a hardworking and innovative workforce and great partnerships with PK-12 and higher education institutions. This region is the best-kept secret in business, it’s time to change that,” said Jon Barela.
The City of El Paso and Borderplex Alliance are working with regional partner organizations on the proposal, which has a national deadline of October 19.
On Thursday, Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB), along with partners from the Borderplex Alliance, El Paso County, the City of El Paso, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, launched three youth employment initiatives for 2017; Hire El Paso Youth Summer Work Program, Summer Earn & Learn, and The Texas Internship Challenge.
The Hire El Paso Summer Work Program will subsidize 100 percent of a paid work experience for 122 youth between the ages of 16-24 for 20-40 hours a week and for up to 12 weeks.
Summer Earn & Learn will subsidize 100 percent of the paid work experience for 78 youth with disabilities between the ages of 14-22 for 30 hours a week and for up to 7 weeks.
The Texas Internship Challenge, a partnership between the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency and The Higher Education Coordinating Board, is aimed to increase and promote paid internships for students with Texas employers. In this case, the employers will commit to covering the costs for internships.
“Together we, and our partners, understand the value that summer work experience offers the future workforce. Hiring youth not only helps them gain important workplace training but also builds self-esteem while earning money for themselves and their families. In return, employers can expect to get productive employees,” said Joyce Wilson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
Employers who participate in the programs will benefit from hiring motivated young adults in their workplaces, while providing crucial career building opportunities. Employers participating in the Summer Earn & Learn Program will receive insights and recommendations as to how to best serve customers with disabilities and learn how to easily adapt workplaces to employ persons with disabilities.
In total, WSB has committed to subsidizing 200 summer jobs at 100 percent (zero cost to employers). Youth who participate in the program will attend a Dynamic Futures foundational skills boot camp to better prepare them prior to starting at their worksites.
The Hub of Human Innovation announced Monday that the program 1 Million Cups is headed to El Paso for the first time.
1 Million Cups is a new community program for entrepreneurs and innovators. The program works to create a “safe and supportive environment that will educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.”
Every Wednesday we will have two entrepreneurs present their startups to a diverse group of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs.
Presenters prepare a six-minute educational presentation and engage in twenty minutes of feedback and questioning after they present. Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real-time feedback, connect with a community that cares about their progress and walk away feeling as if they have advanced their business.
The program, started by the Kauffman Foundation, takes place every Wednesday morning from 9-10 a.m. in locations all around the country.
1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. Our coffee is free and provided by Pickup.Coffee
The Hub of Human Innovation, in partnership with Borderplex Alliance, El Paso Economic and International Development, El Paso Community Foundation, PeopleFund, Progress321, Technology Hub Juárez, and Wells Fargo Bank hosts 1 Million Cups, or 1MC.
The City of El Paso Office of Resilience and Sustainability and the Department of Economic and International Development, in partnership with the Hub of Human Innovation and the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, is hosting the Urban Energy Forum tomorrow.
The Forum is aimed at exploring energy, technology, and sustainability and includes a dialogue surrounding the future of energy and industry in the Paso Del Norte region.
The workshop will tap into the knowledge and experience of participants as they exchange ideas regarding regional energy challenges and industry development with the intention of uncovering an innovative path forward.
Key partners bringing their expertise to the table include USGBC Texas Chapter, El Paso Electric and the Borderplex Alliance.
Recommendations generated at the forum will be reviewed by groups of local stakeholders including the City of El Paso’s newly formed Regional Renewable Energy Advisory Council.
The forum will run from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 18, at the Templeton Suite (500 W. University Ave. Student Union East UTEP.)