The global economy is a complex, dynamic and interconnected space, and if a nation or state wants to ensure a robust economy, the importance of healthy trade partnerships cannot be overstated. At the Texas Association of Business’ 2023 Policy Conference, a primary focus of discussion was the immense value Texas’ current trade partnership with Mexico holds.
Gerry Schwebel, the Executive Vice President of the International Bank of Commerce, shared insights on the unprecedented growth that has been occurring recently throughout the Lone Star State, particularly in Central Texas. His perspective highlighted the strategic significance of the I-35 corridor, stretching from Texas into Mexico, as a thriving trade bloc. He also emphasized the need to analyze the substantial investments pouring into the region and continue to utilize and expand the opportunities they offer.
“With that (growth) comes jobs, it comes tier one, tier two, tier three suppliers,” Schwebel said. “It just creates an environment that is enviable, and we have it. So, as we move forward as a State Chamber, I would like to make sure that every part of the state, particularly rural Texas, gets the opportunity to participate.”
Texas shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to attracting new businesses and experiencing diverse industry growth. Rolando Pablos, the former Texas Secretary of State, stressed the necessity of preparing for this surge through strategic investments and fortifying trade routes.
"We expect a tsunami of more business to come, and we have to get ready to get ready for that through infrastructure and a business-friendly climate and through trade routes,” he said. “You know, bilateral or state and Mexico level relationships."
In the broader context, the significance of Texas and Mexico as trade partners cannot be overblown. The economic development fostered by this collaboration not only supercharges prosperity and security but also creates an environment of unparalleled potential. The partnership with Mexico is also a linchpin in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and has resulted in innumerable benefits for Texas, highlighting the interdependence and mutual success that such alliances can yield.
However, recent challenges, such as the temporary suspension of international rail crossings at Eagle Pass and El Paso, serve as a stark reminder of the fragility of these connections. The closures, affecting a substantial portion of cross-border rail traffic, underline the urgent need to reopen these routes to safeguard commerce and prevent further damage to the economy.
Our state is irrefutably recognized as an economic powerhouse and Mexico, as our number one trade partner, contributes substantially to both our current and future economic prosperity and security. To remain the Best State for Business, we must fortify and continue to invest in this relationship.