Secretary Pablos convenes his final Border Trade
Advisory Committee meeting in Austin
AUSTIN – Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos today convened the final Border Trade Advisory Committee (BTAC) meeting of 2018, his last as chair of the Committee. Secretary Pablos began by adopting minutes from BTAC’s October 23rd meeting, then led a discussion with International Bank of Commerce’s Gerry Schwebel on the impact of the recently-signed U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement on trade between Texas and Mexico, and the prospects of expanded cross-border commercial ties.
“Throughout the renegotiation process, our focus was always to ensure that Texas’ priorities were communicated as articulated by Governor Abbott, and that our infrastructure would continue to be able to facilitate the increased trade we are seeing with our largest trade partner, Mexico,” Secretary Pablos said. “We must continue to focus on infrastructure, involve our partners and officials from Mexican border states, and ensure that the strong relationships we have built only continue to grow stronger. I am confident that this Committee will continue to help make the Texas-Mexico trade relationship even stronger in the years to come.”
The Committee then received an update on the Texas-Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan, led by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which is designed to identify transportation infrastructure challenges, solicit feedback from stakeholders throughout the border region, and implement long-term strategies for continuing to facilitate cross-border trade. The Committee will be convened for additional meetings and workshop sessions in 2019 and 2020 in order to provide extensive stakeholder input and ultimately produce a final report at the end of 2020.
Next, El Paso County Commissioner Vincent Perez, Borderplex Alliance CEO Jon Barela, and TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Bob Bielek provided the Committee with an update on infrastructure and economic development projects in the El Paso region. The Committee then received updates on trade and transportation infrastructure activities from representatives of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila, focusing on recent innovations in technology to facilitate secure and efficient cross-border cargo processing.
Secretary Pablos concluded the meeting by thanking the Committee members for their service during his tenure as chair, and expressed optimism that the Committee will be expanded to include additional representatives from the private sector and state and federal public officials from Mexico.
“The reason each of us get out of bed every morning is to bring prosperity for our families and our communities, and everyone here is in a unique position to drive that home. I encourage you all to continue doing the great work we have undertaken over the past two years, and look forward to seeing this community continue to bring prosperity to both sides of the border.”
The Committee’s next meeting will be held in March 2019. Learn more about the Border Trade Advisory Committee.