Press Release: CSG West’s Border Legislative Conference Announces Executive Summary on Binational Competitiveness to Mexico Lawmakers

December 8, 2014
PRESS RELEASE Contacts:

For Immediate Release Edgar Ruiz, CSG West, (916) 501-5070
Chris Wilson, Wilson Center Mexico Institute, (202) 359-5863
Erik Lee, North American Research Partnership, (858) 449-3798

Sacramento, CA– Last week the Council of State Governments West’s Border Legislative Conference (BLC) unveiled to Mexican federal lawmakers and U.S. officials the executive summary of a report focused on the competitiveness of the U.S. – Mexico border region. The report, titled “The U.S. – Mexico Border Economy in Transition,” was developed by CSG West’s research partners – the Wilson Center Mexico Institute and the North American Research Partnership.

The executive summary presents key findings of the four regional economic competitiveness forums convened by the BLC this year at strategic locations along the U.S. – Mexico border region. The forums brought together federal and state lawmakers, high-ranking U.S. and Mexican officials, experts and local leaders from both countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities to improve the competitiveness of this region which serves as the “nerve center” of the bilateral relationship. The forums also provided an opportunity for border residents to offer their insights and recommendations of what governments and the business community can do to achieve actionable results that further innovation, job creation and prosperity of the region. Among the recommendations highlighted in the summary is the need to strengthen state binational institutions, promote crossborder urban planning, expand trusted traveler programs, enhance coordination among institutions of higher learning to improve work force development, and capitalize on energy development, particularly as Mexico implements its recently enacted energy reforms. The BLC will develop a legislative roadmap aimed at exchanging ideas and best practices that can help governments implement the recommendations in the report. The BLC will also be conducting visits to state legislatures along the U.S. – Mexico border in the coming months to present the findings of the report and policy roadmap.

“The report and its findings provide federal lawmakers in Mexico great insights to the tremendous economic growth between the U.S. and Mexico, and it also emphasizes the important role that states and local governments have to engage in the High Level Economic Dialogue established by the federal governments of both countries,” stated Senator Ernesto Ruffo Appel, chairman of the Commission of Northern Border Affairs in Mexico’s Federal Senate. “The U.S. and Mexican economies lose out on billions of dollars of economic growth each year as a result of congestion at the U.S.-Mexico border. This year, we met with government officials, business owners and residents along the border gathering their best ideas for how to improve border management and strengthen the border economy. If implemented, these recommendations will help the border region fulfill its potential as a motor of competitiveness and growth for the regional economy” stated Chris Wilson of the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute during testimony before the Commission of Northern Border Affairs in Mexico’s Senate.

“The work of the BLC and its research partners provides policy-makers of both countries with relevant data and analysis that our respective border communities can use to inform leaders of interior states within each country of the importance of the bilateral relationship and the interdependence of our economies” stated Diputado David Perez Tejada, member of the Northern Border Affairs Committee in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies.

CSG West’s BLC delegation to Mexico City included Diputada Imelda Guadalupe De La Garza of Nuevo León current chair of the BLC, as well as staff from CSG West, the Woodrow Wilson Mexico Institute and the North American Research Partnership. A similar launch will be made in Washington, D.C. for U.S. federal lawmakers in late January 2015. The complete report will be available within the coming weeks. The executive summary can be viewed and downloaded at www.borderlegislators.org (or click Border_Economy_Transition_Wilson_Lee).