The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), maquiladoras, growth in jobs and earned income, and a measure of activity in critical technologies are transforming the U.S-Mexico border region into what The Economist calls, "one of the most positively dynamic regions of the 21st century."
Indeed, the border is rapidly becoming North America's business address, and the opportunities created by this tremendous growth require American and Mexican leaders to focus on the border. The University of Texas-Pan American will bring these leaders together Aug. 22-24 at the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit.
Among those attending the three-day event are U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, Former Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Milken Institute Director of Regional Studies Ross DeVol and numerous other high-ranking officials.
Time magazine ran a special report on the U.S.-Mexico border in their June 11, 2001, issue, calling the border region the "New Frontier." ABC News tied into Time's coverage by broadcasting several border stories and conducting a live telecast of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings from Laredo.
In the May issue of Forbes magazine, three of the top 25 hottest regions for economic growth included San Diego, Tucson and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan region in South Texas. Two other border communities, Laredo and Brownsville, Texas, were in the top 60.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994, U.S. trade across the border has increased 114 percent. That is twice as much as the United States trades with Europe and five times as much as with China.
Overall, trade between the United States and Mexico has increased more than 200 percent - from $81 billion in 1993 to more than $250 billion in 1999 - and Texas leads the nation in exports to Mexico. In 1999 alone, South Texas-Mexico border ports processed 1.89 million trucks, 23.7 million cars and 8.6 million pedestrians.
As part of the prestigious U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, Mineta will discuss major transportation corridors, including the proposed NAFTA highway or Interstate 69, which will connect Mexico to Canada through America's heartland.
Kantor will brief the participants on the brave new business world of the border region, and Gov. Perry will discuss his initiatives for the Texas-Mexico border. The President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, Stacey H. Davis, will moderate a panel on housing opportunities for border residents. Texas Rep. Pete Gallego, one of the rising stars of Texas politics, will moderate a panel of border legislators reviewing this year's legislative sessions.
In addition, high-ranking officials from both countries, representatives of major national foundations and corporate leaders will focus their remarks on international trade, energy, telecommunications, utility infrastructure corridor development, border manufacturing opportunities, water, housing and health issues.
For more information on the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, visit www.bordersummit.com or contact The University of Texas-Pan American at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 956/381-2116 or toll-free at 1-888-432-4033.