Business professionals throughout North America gathered at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute (TBI) on Nov. 8 to receive valuable advice from American, Canadian and Mexican business leaders on how to make their business competitive in the global market.
The institute is one of the country’s leading centers for promoting understanding, dialogue and cooperation across the U.S.-Mexico border, border-related scholarship, activities and community at USD. It also provides an active role for the university in the cross-border community. Charles Pope, TBI’s assistant director, said USD benefited directly from hosting the event.
“Hosting the North American Competitiveness Conference places the University of San Diego at the forefront of discussions and initiatives to foster innovation, competitiveness and economic development in the binational region, which offers tremendous potential to leverage complimentary synergies across the US-Mexico border.”
The conference hosted discussions on expanding growth in the markets of solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, and other clean technologies. How companies can be a critical part of the supply chain for aerospace and defense industries in the San Diego and Tijuana region was also discussed by panelists.
Pope said USD can play a part in the growth of using clean technologies.
“USD can help drive competitiveness by collaborating and engaging with other regional institutions of higher learning, the private sector, and government on both sides of the border to provide the training necessary for a skilled workforce and to serve as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.”
The conference featured keynote speakers Michael C. Camuñez, assistant secretary of commerce for Market Access and Compliance (MAC) within the International Trade Administration, and Luis Olivé, the head officer of International Trade and Investment for Pro México.
Olivé said Pro México understands the logic of investment in the world. “Mexico has been attracting a lot of investment because we have done good work. We haven’t had large inflation since 15 years ago and we are geographically in the center of the world for global operation.”
Large Tijuana-based international companies like Bose and Toyota are purchasing more than $13 billion in components and services from outside the San Diego and Tijuana region annually. This creates abundant possibilities for selling San Diego County components and services to the manufacturing industry just below the U.S.-Mexico border and sustainable job growth throughout the region.
In light of this, President of the Mexicali Economic Development Council Sergio Tagliapietra presented the “$13 Billion Dollar Opportunity for San Diego and Tijuana” with Tijuana Economic Development Corp. President Jaime Gonzalez, U.S. Commercial Officer Geoff Bogart and Ann Bacher, counselor for commercial affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
Panelists advised professionals to connect with the client and culture where they are doing business. In dealing with international business, Bacher, Tagliapietra and Gonzalez, collectively, stressed the importance of connectivity.
“Making that personal connection when you do international business is key,” Bacher said.
— Taylor Martin ‘15