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Economic challenges and solutions, NAFTA addressed during Transplace shipper symposium


DALLAS, Tex.–Transplace wrapped up its 12th annual Shipper Symposium in Dallas on May 14th. Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and other leading supply chain and economic visionaries addressed current supply chain and economic issues, including NAFTA in its 20th year, capacity constraints and regulatory changes that have a worldwide effect on the transportation of goods.

“The Shipper Symposium brings together supply chain experts and transportation leaders to address the latest issues and trends impacting the global supply chain. The event provides a forum to share strategies and best practices for successfully navigating challenges, driving operational excellence, and shining a light on the path to success” said Transplace President and Chief Commercial Officer George Abernathy. “This year’s Shipper Symposium featured an accomplished group of speakers who shared deep insights with our customers and partners to help them gain a greater understanding of the ever-changing economic and political landscape and apply new knowledge to their businesses.”

Highlights included an overview of shifting overseas sourcing trends, and NAFTA @ 20: What’s Next for North American Trade.

A panel of Mexican-, Canadian- and United States-focused experts looked back on the past 20 years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and what the future of commerce might hold for the three NAFTA trading partners. The panelists all voiced the importance of closer collaboration between the partnering nations and the need for NAFTA to evolve in order to remain the leading global trading bloc. During the session, Christopher Wilson of the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center discussed the ways that NAFTA has opened up borders and helped North America create a partnership, even amid events that put immense pressure on trade, such as 9/11, the economic recession, and the rise of China’s economy.

“That pressure slowed down the level of growth in trade that we were experiencing and made the political climate different as well. It ultimately has lead us to a position that may be beneficial in that it lets us see our neighbors as our partners, rather than our competitors. We don’t just sell products to one another in North America, we actually build them together, so that the trade that’s happening within the continent is now about parts and materials as much as it is about final products. That binds us together as a continent in a way we weren’t bound together previously,” he said.

In a session on surveying the Geo-Political Landscape & Bridging Business to Latin America, President Fox examined the relationship between the United States and Latin America and the NAFTA. He noted that because of NAFTA Mexico has become a huge manufacturing structure in the global market, and that the agreement is a powerful tool which North American countries can utilize to compete on a global scale. President Fox stated, “When NAFTA started, the difference in income in Mexico and income in the United States was a ratio of 10-to-1. So if you made $1 in Mexico, you would make $10 by crossing the border. Today, 20 years later, it is a ratio of 5-to-1. The new NAFTA vision should be to get us to a 1-1 ratio position, just like the United States and Canada, and then we won’t have the problems that we have today.”