In a historic visit to Edinburg, members of the North American International Trade Corridor Partnership (NAITCP) held a quarterly meeting Thursday, Feb. 27 at The University of Texas-Pan American to discuss important issues that will help promote economic and social development along the borders of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
More than 60 public officials from various cities in Mexico, and the U.S. met in the hopes of developing partnerships that stimulate economic growth among their cities.
"It's been a great opportunity for us to see what other cities are doing in terms of economic development - hear about their strategies," said David Eaton, executive director for NAITCP. "We can go home and channel the best practices. It's basically an important forum for sharing."
Among the most important issues discussed during the conference were developing a strategy that would allow all cities in the NAITCP to link together through the Internet.
"We're working to strengthen the economic development relating to our NAITCP web page," he said. "We're working to digitally link all our communities for the purpose of economic promotion."
Cities represented at the conference were Kansas City, San Antonio, Edinburg, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Miguel Aleman. During the conference, UTPA representatives were given the opportunity to speak about economic research conducted on campus that affects border cities.
Dr. John Sargent, professor of international business, spoke about the maquila industry; UTPA Vice President for External Affairs Roland S. Arriola put together a report on "The South Texas Border: A Dynamic Economic Region;" and Dr. Jose Pagan, spoke about the the UTPA Center for Border Economic Studies, the program he directs.
Edinburg City Mayor Joe Ochoa, who is the only Rio Grande Valley mayor on the committee, said it was an honor for the city to host such a prestigious event for the first time.
"This community is the fourth largest growing area in the United States, and we welcome you all to our city," Ochoa told officials during a breakfast gathering.
Eaton thanked the University and the City of Edinburg for their hospitality. "This has been fantastic, by far the best conference we've had. It's been a great sharing of ideas and strategies. And the hospitality of the University and the City is to be commended," Eaton said.
The NAITCP was developed to promote trade, investment, education and tourism in the region, which stretches from central Canada through the U.S. midwest to the south of Mexico. The partnership of North American cities are linked by a trade corridor and works to foster economic and social development in the region.