The Culture of Business
Great Op-Ed in the San Antonio Express News by San Antonio Economic Development Foundation President Mario Hernandez:
Twenty years ago, three world leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered in San Antonio, Texas to preside over the initialing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), marking the conclusion of negotiations over the most significant trade agreement in recent history.
Since NAFTA’s official inception in 1994, trade and investment in North America has grown exponentially, with more than $1 billion USD of trade each day between the United States and Mexico alone, and infusing a new level of economic strength into all three countries.
Fast forward twenty years and, as our Honorable Mayor has pointed out, San Antonio has blossomed into a major center of trade in the 21st century global economy.
Our city serves as a vital center for NAFTA related surface trade and logistics. Our geographic location with Interstate 35—the Pan American Highway—and Interstate 10 provides unparalleled distribution access for every direction in North America.
Now is the time to look back on the past twenty years of NAFTA and ask some tough questions. What has NAFTA accomplished? What are the economic development opportunities for our city and where do we go from here? On Thursday, November 15-16, the NAFTA 20 North America Summit took place in San Antonio, presenting the opportunity to share outcomes and experiences collected over the past two decades, and to develop a unified vision for the future of North American trade.
The agenda of the Summit included sector dialogues that promised to fuel active discussions among industry professionals and develop strategic outlooks for the future of NAFTA as it relates to the Energy, Automotive, Bioscience, Healthcare, Aerospace and Small-to-Medium Business industries, all of which affect San Antonio and our future and our role as a key player in the global economy.
The Summit brought together some of the most prominent leaders and thinkers in the region, and the country, from both the private and public sector, to discuss critical topics affecting international business, including trade relations, faster, safer trade movement across borders, enhancing regional competitiveness, and supply chain and logistics.