7th Annual Bi-National Innovation Conference, November 1st

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Dr. Kevin Peek is a professor of economics now for 20, nine with South Texas College. Before that, he was a founder of the Trade Policy Research Group, a company based in San Francisco and one branch in Valencia, Spain, and also in Mexico. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

The Seventh Annual Binational Innovation Conference is a must-attend event; it promises to be an informative and exciting conference on the new USMCA, its likely impact, and how you can benefit from it.

The 2019 INNO Conference is hosted by South Texas College (STC), bringing together experts from both sides of the border to analyze changes in the international trade agreement that will affect all.

Attendees will enjoy and get informed by speakers like Blake Hastings, Senior Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, with an outlook of the Rio Grande Valley. Also, Jorge Espindola Alvarez, M.B.A. Instructor at Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, presenting an essential topic of Manufacturing in Mexico. The ‘USMCA NAFTA 2.0’ is also a big part of the 2019 INNO Conference, which will be presented by Salvador Contreras, Ph.D., Associate Professor University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. And how can this be a complete program if China is not part of the discussion? For that, Adrian Gonzalez, M.B.A., International Trade Consultant/Licensed Customs Broker, will present: “Commerce, Politics, and China.”

Dr. Kevin Peek, professor of economics for twenty years, nine with at South Texas College, told Texas Border Business that South Texas College has distinguished itself by bringing topics that matter in the world of trade, manufacturing, and education.

He also said that the 2019 INNO Conference will discuss topics at length, in particular, one that of significant importance, the outcome of the negotiation of the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement. “And as you know, this is the successor to the North American free-trade agreement NAFTA.” He continued, “The focal point of this conference is to look at specific provisions and changes that will affect south Texas, the United States, and northern Mexico.”

As an economist, Dr. Peek has a passion for trade agreements, and he is one that has read already the USMCA treaty in place and ready for ratification by the U.S. Congress. “That’s my life work is trade agreements,” he said. 

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He pointed out that there’s a consensus about the treaty and also a concern that there would be a radical transformation of the content of the North American free-trade agreement. “Given the positive net effect that it’s had our region that raised a tremendous amount of attention.”

Given that he has read the new treaty, he is comfortable in saying that the changes are not that radical, and for that, readers need to go back to 1993 before the NAFTA was implemented.

The trade accord became into effect in 1994, Dr. Peek noted that the economic indicators for this region before that point was not a pretty picture. “It wasn’t unusual to see unemployment figures in Starr County tipping 30%, Hidalgo County up to 24 25% and per capita income was roughly 60% of what it is today, and when you adjust for inflation, income distribution was highly inequitable.” 

Also, he said, “Not that we’ve fixed it, but we’ve made some tremendous progress.”

Another topic taking center stage is Manufacturing: Trade and INNOVATION. S.T.C. assembled a panel comprised by Salvador Dominguez, M.B.A., Logistics & Compliance, Regional Manager, EMERSON;

Adrian Gonzalez, M.B.A., International Trade Consultant/Licensed Customs Broker 

At M.C.A.; Jose Luis Suarez Vera, Lecturer at Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, and Jorge Kuri, Plant Manager at Trostel Ltd.

Dr. Peek said that among other topics, conference sessions to address how new rules and norms affect manufacturing, supply-chain formation and continuity, binational trade and border commerce, foreign direct investment, and overall regional economic growth and development.

In addition to the presentations, the agenda will include guided round-table discussions and a speaker panel to capture viewpoints from all attendees. Audience participation will be encouraged, and the Conference is open to the general public.

INNO is a conference that sheds light on all of these subjects, and the invitation is for everyone. It will take place at South Texas College Technology Campus Building B – Atrium, at 3700 W. Military Hwy., McAllen Texas, on Friday, November 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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