NAFTA Issues Adressed at Transplace Shipper Symposium

By George Backwell
Thursday, May 29, 2014
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Provider of transportation management services & logistics technology, Transplace, says it has wrapped up its recent 12th annual 'Shipper Symposium' in Dallas. Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and other leading supply chain and economic visionaries addressed current supply chain and economic issues, including NAFTA in its 20th year, capacity constraints and regulatory changes that have a worldwide effect on the transportation of goods.

Event Highlights

  • Supply Chain Economics: Effects on the World – Economist Paul Bingham addressed shifting overseas sourcing trends and changes in the global economic and trade landscape. During his presentation, Bingham examined a variety of factors that are affecting the market, including: the recent pickup in the world economy along with trade growing faster than economy as a whole, emerging markets growing stronger and world monetary policy providing stimulus.

    Stated Bingham, “Trucking is an industry that faces an enormous set of headwinds, no one singularly more important than another. They’re making it tougher for trucking companies to manage their costs in a way that they’re able to provide the services that they have in the past at the same price. Ultimately, that may affect mode choice, and may force those that have the options to do it to consider more seriously, even incur costs to do so, to make greater use of intermodal rail.”
  • NAFTA @ 20: What’s Next for North American Trade – A panel of Mexican-, Canadian- and United States-focused experts looked back on the past 20 years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and what the future of commerce might hold for the three NAFTA trading partners. The panelists all voiced the importance of closer collaboration between the partnering nations and the need for NAFTA to evolve in order to remain the leading global trading bloc.

    During the session, Christopher Wilson of the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center discussed the ways that NAFTA has opened up borders and helped North America create a partnership, even amid events that put immense pressure on trade, such as 9/11, the economic recession, and the rise of China’s economy.

    He stated that: "Pressure slowed down the level of growth in trade that we were experiencing and made the political climate different as well. It ultimately has lead us to a position that may be beneficial in that it lets us see our neighbors as our partners, rather than our competitors. We don’t just sell products to one another in North America, we actually build them together, so that the trade that’s happening within the continent is now about parts and materials as much as it is about final products. That binds us together as a continent in a way we weren’t bound together previously.”
  • Surveying the Geo-Political Landscape & Bridging Business to Latin America – President Fox examined the relationship between the United States and Latin America and the NAFTA. He noted that because of NAFTA Mexico has become a huge manufacturing structure in the global market, and that the agreement is a powerful tool which North American countries can utilize to compete on a global scale.

    President Fox stated, “When NAFTA started, the difference in income in Mexico and income in the United States was a ratio of 10-to-1. So if you made $1 in Mexico, you would make $10 by crossing the border. Today, 20 years later, it is a ratio of 5-to-1. The new NAFTA vision should be to get us to a 1-1 ratio position, just like the United States and Canada, and then we won’t have the problems that we have today.”
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