The University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute (TBI) hosted an all day economic forum on April 14 with cabinet-level representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada entitled “North American Competitiveness, Innovation and Clean Energy Conference.”
The conference reinforced major themes of the North American Competitiveness Forum and highlighted trilateral North American cooperation as a driver for 21st century jobs growth. Panel discussions focused on how to promote the links that advance innovation and competitiveness and how to remove the obstacles that impede future growth. Participants heard innovative examples of green workforce development, integrated supply chain improvements, and enhanced border infrastructure projects that facilitate efficiency and increase trade opportunities.
United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos joined dozens of economists and policy experts from the binational region, as well as leadership from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Secretary Locke, the keynote speaker, said “meeting the twin imperatives of rising energy demand and reducing our greenhouse gas output will require nothing less than completely rethinking the way we produce and consume energy. In the next few decades, we need to rebuild and reinvent many of our industrial activities; from power generation and transportation to manufacturing and construction. With the right vision and the right commitment, we can build a clean energy economy that provides good jobs and sets this continent up for decades of sustainable economic growth.”
Topics discussed throughout the day-long conference included how to transition to a low-carbon economy, create a 21st century green energy workforce, and how to finance green projects.
Charles Pope, TBI’s interim director, said that “being able to bring together three intrinsically important countries to talk about arming our workforces with educational opportunities, which will in turn contribute to a green economy, is invaluable. Our discussions focused on how to use those workforces to create good green jobs that will benefit our economies, our communities and our industries.”
Another critical focus throughout the day was on advanced border technologies that can facilitate the legitimate flow of goods and people across the border, which contributes tremendously to local border economies.
More than 275 people participated in the TBI conference.
— Melissa Wagoner