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NADB takes part in the 2017 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit

Posted on September 07, 2017

NADB takes part in the 2017 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit

Alex Hinojosa, Acting Managing Director of the North American Development Bank (NADB), participated in the 2017 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit held on August 16th at the El Paso Convention Center. The event is organized annually by the Borderplex Alliance and convenes leaders who play a critical role in the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States, particularly on issues impacting this dynamic border region.

This year's Summit, as indicated in the message of Jon Barela, Executive Director of the Borderplex Alliance, took place at a complicated point in the relationship between the two countries and consequently organizers felt the need to discuss issues such as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), border security, and policies related to trade and migration.

The NADB official participated—along with Will Hurd, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District; El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar; and Ambassador Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Mexico in the United States—in the “From the Beltway to the Border” panel moderated by Ross Ramsey, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Texas Tribune digital news organization.

Panelists addressed several common border challenges, especially NAFTA, its relevance for the region and the prospects for its renegotiation, as well as the way the border is perceived in Washington power circles.

Hinojosa believes that in this context NADB plays a significant role in the U.S.-Mexico relationship, due to its ability to raise financing from both governments and the private sector for key water and wastewater, waste management and energy projects, among other sectors. He said that, within the scope of the NAFTA renegotiation process, “the bank should be considered as part of the solutions negotiated, inasmuch as border infrastructure is fundamental to ensuring the region’s competitiveness and improving the quality of life of border residents.”

Representative Hurd acknowledged that NADB is an important ally of the border and a model for infrastructure financing that should continue being promoted. He underscored that the bank has had a great impact in his district, and the stories of its efforts are very positive. He stressed that “what NADBank has done here is quite phenomenal. There are children in Tornillo that now can enjoy drinking water. There are people in Clint who have access to wastewater treatment. It is really changing lives.” He added that “NADBank is a great partner to create a positive influence along our border.” “The bank is an example of how we can create other infrastructure throughout our country, and I believe that the NADBank model will be even more relevant in the coming years, when these issues are analyzed,” he said.

Ambassador Zabalgoitia pointed out that NAFTA represents a paradigm shift in the relationship between the two countries. He said that this trade instrument has transformed this relationship for the better and has promoted the development of the border, while producing economic benefits for the three treaty partners. He acknowledged, however, that it is a treaty that can and should be improved as the three countries have agreed.

In closing, Alex Hinojosa emphasized that in its nearly 20 years of existence NADB, which was created as a side agreement to NAFTA, has provided financing for 228 environmental infrastructure projects with an estimated cost of more than U.S. $ 10 billion, benefitting about 16 million residents. He noted that the possibility of expanding the bank's mandate, with the potential inclusion of other sectors, such as natural gas pipelines and border crossings, has been mentioned in the NAFTA renegotiations.




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