North America Working Group Wrap-up Session in San Diego and Tijuana
Last week, the North America Competitiveness Working Group convened in San Diego for its third session to discuss advancing North American economic integration. The group crossed the border into Mexico to experience the unique challenges of integration, as well as some of the creative solutions that have been developed in the region.
Their stops included a briefing at the El Chaparral facility, a newly constructed border crossing built by Mexico between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico; the Cross Border Xpress, which makes the Tijuana airport easily accessible for San Diego-based travelers; and Energia Sierra Juarez, Sempra Energy’s wind farm located east of Tecate, Mexico, that powers much of San Diego. David Wilkins and Tony Garza—the former U.S. Ambassadors to Canada and Mexico—were among those who participated in the two-day trip.
Approximately 2 million passengers annually cross the land ports of entry near San Diego to board flights in Tijuana, which offers direct flights to some destinations in Latin America and Asia that San Diego’s airport does not. This creative approach allows likely passengers who would already fly out of Tijuana to avoid the hassles of the traditional land ports of entry.
The second stop included a tour of the El Chaparral border crossing facility at the San Ysidro land port of entry. The busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, San Ysidro processes 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians daily on the northbound side alone. El Chaparral was planned by the U.S. and Mexican governments as part of a larger redevelopment that will expand the existing northbound facility and re-route the interstate to feed the new southbound facility directly.
The day concluded with a visit to Sempra Energia Sierra Juarez (ESJ), a wind farm in La Rumorosa, Mexico that generates wind energy for the San Diego, California market. The ESJ project provides an interesting case study in the opportunities for cross-border energy market integration, the potential benefits from training standards for workers throughout North America and the challenges that arise in planning and building cross-border infrastructure.
Sempra built the wind farm in a geographically unique location in order to maximize wind-power generation and minimize the risk of shutting down due to excessive or dangerous winds. The facility’s 47 turbines have a combined generation capacity of 155 megawatts. The wind farm then transmits energy to the San Diego market through a series of cross-border towers and cables that required a Presidential permit during the building stage.
The Working Group then convened the following day with an in-depth policy discussion on how to better intergrate the North American economies. Over the course of its three sessions, the North America Working Group has brought together some 80 experts from the business, policy and academic communities of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. These discussions have centered on the current policy challenges in energy market integration, border infrastructure and human capital development. The Working Group is developing a focused proposal based on these discussions in hopes that all three governments will embrace and commit to pursuing over the next year.
Laura Collins is the Deputy Director, Economic Growth at the George W. Bush Institute. Laura previously served as the Director of Immigration Policy at the American Action Forum. Laura has experience in politics, working as a Senior Research Analyst at the Republican National Committee for the 2012 election cycle and in the Texas House of Representatives for the 82nd Legislature. A former practicing attorney, Laura earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and a BBA from the University of Oklahoma.Full Bio
Matthew Rooney Talks to CNN Money About NAFTA Negotiations
In an interview with CNN Money, George W. Bush Institute's Economic Growth Director, Matthew Rooney, defends NAFTA and the modernization of the trade agreement.
Mexico as Viewed from Washington: Optimism for an Even-Better NAFTA
If the U.S. can’t get its relationship with its southern neighbor “right,” what kind of signal will it send to the rest of the world?
Innovation and the Next Big Thing
Matthew Rooney and Cullum Clark recently conducted an email exchange about how American can unleash a new wave of innovation. Rooney, director of the George W. Bush Institute’s Economic Growth program, and Clark, an economist at Southern Methodist University and director of a new SMU economics research center, explore how U.S. fiscal, monetary, and other policies can help ensure that the U.S. remains in the lead of the global economy.
America's Two Economies
In a brief span of 48 hours last week, I had the opportunity to see America's two economies on display. One is fueled by an impressive concoction of innovation, diversity, education, and churning market forces. The other is characterized by struggling small towns, lack of opportunity, rural outposts, and, in some places, rampant opioid abuse.