Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), in conjunction with the Council of the Americas, orchestrated a first of its kind roundtable discussion on U.S.-Mexico competitiveness to examine challenges and offer solutions about ways to improve the flow of commerce along the U.S.-Mexico border. The conversations included the viewpoints of an array of high-level participants, including both the U.S. and Mexican Ambassadors, private sector leaders, public sector officials and higher education experts from both sides of the border. The roundtable discussion centered on methods to facilitate trade and strengthen relations between the U.S. and Mexico while improving border security for communities along the border.
"The Rio Grande River is a natural border that unites, rather than divides, the U.S. and Mexico, and our exchange of commerce each day is unlimited in benefits and economic growth for Laredo and our country. Laredo is a prime location for a conversation about trade, considering it ranks number one in the nation for North American trade land ports," said Cuellar, who is Chairman of the House of Representatives' Pro-Trade Caucus. "Candid discussions about keeping our countries competitive in the public, private and education sectors are necessary for our city to retain its position as a trade hub. By gathering together and talking about realistic solutions for strengthening U.S. and Mexico's commerce flow, we are working to support manufacturers, small businesses, ranchers and other members of our community who rely on the trade industry for their livelihoods."
Congressman Cuellar, in coordination with Council of the Americas, convened a group of more than 50 prominent participants with expertise on the issues discussed. The discussion opened with remarks from John Negroponte, Chairman of the Council of the Americas and former Ambassador to Mexico, and Congressman Cuellar.
"As Chairman of the Council of the Americas, I am delighted to join Congressman Cuellar at this conference whose primary purpose is to highlight the contribution of the border region to the economic well-being and prosperity of both our countries," said Ambassador Negroponte.
During the roundtable discussion, participants discussed a wide range of issues affecting the flow of commerce in the border region. After examining the primary obstacles faced by business operating along the border and the challenge of infrastructure deficits, the conversation turned to possible solutions for these problems, including developing a joint strategy to increase regional competitiveness, improving border management, the possibility of creating public-private partnerships to address infrastructure needs and expanding enrollment in trusted traveler and shipper programs.
"Thank you to Ambassador John Negroponte and everyone who participated in this important conversation. The U.S. and Mexico share far more than a border, and today's discussion reinforced that the interconnectedness between our two countries makes cooperation between us vital to the future of both our of economies," said Congressman Cuellar.