Laredo stakeholders participate in tri-national business meeting

A meeting that focused on the tri-national aspects of Laredo as a major stakeholder in the world of trade and commerce was held last week in Laredo, with various local stakeholders being part of the discussions.

On Wednesday, those stakeholders, including economic development organizations and businesses, formed part of the local North American Competitiveness Strategy meeting to discuss the latest developments in local trade and what some of the opportunities and potential challenges for continued growth are.

This NASCO meeting was attended by stakeholders from the Laredo Economic Development Corporation, IBC Bank, TAMIU, Laredo College, Kansas City Southern, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, business leaders and representatives from City of Laredo Management, including the Bridge Department and Economic Development .

According to Gene Lindgren, president and CEO of LEDC, NASCO is the leading organization focused on North American supply chain competitiveness, workforce and energy independence. He adds that NASCO is the only tri-national network of North American governments, businesses and educational institutions driven by a common interest in cooperating on trade corridors and trade networks.

“Topics covered were an update on NASCO’s initiatives and priorities that support growth, equity and competitiveness for North America, an update on the KCS rail bridge expansion project and monarch butterfly conservation efforts,” Lindgren said. “Participants also provided updates from their organizations.”

The USMCA was also another major topic discussed during the Laredo meeting.

“As we continue to implement the USMCA, Laredo continues to benefit from the tri-national trade agreement with tremendous industry and business growth as more and more companies relocate or expand to our region,” Lindgren said. “While some of the challenges include construction and congestion, they will be overcome as there are hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that will ultimately provide safety and mobility improvements.”

Some of those infrastructure projects that Lindgren mentioned include route relief between Mines Road and IH-35, overpasses, additional lanes and connections between IH-69 and IH-35, and planning phases beginning for an outer loop that would support efficient freight transport mobility after bridge 4/5 is built.

“Ultimately, Laredo will be the only border city with four interstates beginning and ending at our port of entry,” Lindgren said.

Lindgren adds that NASCO has several councils that focus on the key initiatives and groups that make up the organization. These councils ultimately provide a smaller forum and a way for members to engage in specific projects, collaborate on specific issues and share knowledge on important tri-national initiatives.

Councils have four quarterly annual calls and receive updates from staff throughout the year. These consist of advice on supply chain, workforce, the North American neighborhood, Mexico and the university. NASCO also has an annual continental gathering that rotates host countries between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“There have been NASCO representatives from Laredo since their inception several decades ago, and our community has benefited from the positive publicity of our port, our business community and our special global trade relationship with Mexico,” Lindgren said. “It’s one of the reasons we’re the number one inland port in North America and will be for decades to come.”

Lindgren stated that Laredo has had several representatives for NASCO meetings in recent years, showing how Laredo has become a major stakeholder when it comes to not only the bi-national importance of trade and commerce, but also the tri-national scene, including Canada .

“Earlier this month, the 2022 meeting was in Kansas City; the 2023 event will be in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and in 2024 it will be in Mazatlán, Mexico,” Lindgren said.

NASCO was founded in 1994 because NASCO promotes North American competitiveness in the global marketplace.

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