How United Brownsville Is Transforming the Border Economy

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United Brownsville is building a regional, binational partnership to transform the border economy by developing a collaborative, cross-border advanced manufacturing strategy. This strategy will allow the border region to capture two emerging global economic trends creating a new era of sustainable prosperity and security for our region.

The US/Mexico border region has suffered from a number of negative economic and social indicators for decades. Yet, there are opportunities for turning that negative trajectory around.

Nearshoring/reshoring, the return of manufacturing to North America, has poised the Mexican and U.S. economies to emerge as global leaders. Already near-shoring of large aerospace, automotive and related manufacturing industries has occurred in the central part of Mexico that has positively impacted social and economic indicators in the region.

The key question is whether our Border region can mobilize to capture a share of that emerging prosperity; or whether it will remain a pass-through, factor driven economy? This is where BiNED comes in.

BiNED, which stands for Binational Border Economic Development, is an initiative that emerged from the Imagine Brownsville Comprehensive Plan. It aims to capture that opportunity by creating a more collaborative and competitive binational border economy focused on advanced manufacturing.

Rallying around the BiNED initiative, professionals from varying fields like education, banking, politics, manufacturing and economic development have banded together under the collaborative framework of United Brownsville to “change the regional economic mindset”. United Brownsville, which is leading the effort to bring BiNED to fruition together with Harlingen and Matamoros,  hopes to extend that mission throughout the Valley and Northern Tamaulipas; and eventually all along the US/Mexico Border to San Diego/Tijuana.Untitled-5

Taking on the challenge of empowering the Valley region into a united force with greater collective economic scale and leverage, the BiNED initiative and its supporters vow to change the way life on the border has maintained for decades.

“The Border region has a real and unique opportunity to capture these emerging economic trends’ “United Brownsville Executive Director Miguel Gonzalez said, “however, we must work in collaboration under a shared economic vision for the region to capture it”.

“We are reaching consensus across the Valley and with our partners on the Mexican side of the Border that we need two things to move our region away from the cycle of low per capita income and insecurity”, said Dr. Carlos Marin with Ambiotec Group, a firm involved in infrastructure planning and economic development, “First, transform our traditional pass-through economy to one that is driven by investment in exporting industries; and second, collaborate regionally with our partners across the Valley and on the Mexican side of the Border, to create a truly competitive  and integrated border economy focused on advanced manufacturing”.

 

TRANSFORMING OUR ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE

The Valley’s economy is characterized as a factor-driven, pass-through economy. We are only a pass-through point for products designed and manufactured in other locations; and our principal sources of employment are in sectors that do not produce exports, such as schools and law enforcement. “Fundamentally, we can not make a living by taking in each other’s laundry”, says Dr. Mark Kroll, dean of the UTB Business School. “We can not create real wealth unless we produce products that are exported to other regions”.