Organization Urges Trade Plans for Texas and Mexico

Billions of dollars worth of commerce and goods are traded between Mexico and Texas. An organization called NEMEX-TEX is urging the governments of Mexico and the U.S. to develop regional plans to better facilitate that trade. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The Partnership between the North Eastern Mexican States and Texas, or NEMEX-TEX, seeks to show how Texas and the border states of Mexico should be considered a unified region when it comes to mobility and trade. The organization held its second logistics conference here in Houston. About a hundred people from both sides of the border discussed issues of trade by land, sea and air. Dr. Felipe Ochoa consults with the Mexican government on mobility. He says Texas companies should consider the northeastern Mexican states as part of their regional infrastructure and logistical plan.

"We should think in terms of not off-shoring, but near-shoring. There's a number of reasons why, some businesses in Texas will benefit if they move production and research and business processes to the NEMEX region. And of course, that opportunity should be considered jointly for the future."

Trade between Texas and the northeastern Mexican states is expected to grow by 12 percent every year for the next ten years. Ochoa says highway cargo alone accounts for $50 billion in trade across the border. He says it's time to jointly look at infrastructure to plan for the next 20 years and beyond.

"If we're going to have this big, big picture it better be done jointly. We have to look at what do we need on the Mexican side and what do we need on the U.S. side if we're really to develop the capacity that both countries require and need in order to push and enhance the trade componant of NAFTA."

Mexico has nearly completed the development of 14 inter-state corridors. Those corridors could eventually connect with the planned and debated Trans-Texas Corridor. Ray Perryman of the Perryman economic consulting group says our workforce already moves across the border and neither side can function without continued trade and business opportunities between Mexico and Texas.

"This is a region. This is an economic production entity that's heavily integrated in its workforce, it's heavily integrated in its supply chains, it's heavily integrated in its transportation. And the more we can do to assure that we plan together and grow together effectively in the future, I think the more opportunities we're all going to have."

Perryman says Texas needs to quickly develop border security and immigration strategies because the local economy depends on increased trade and mobility with Mexico. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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