Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
International Visit and Summit Organization
On July 6, 2023, Pharr Economic Development Corp. (PEDC) visited the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon in Mexico. Led by the President and CEO of the Pharr EDC, Victor Pérez, this visit was purposed towards promoting Pharr’s investment attractiveness and capitalizing on the emerging nearshoring opportunities. Recognizing Mexico as a crucial trading partner and being strategically proximate to Pharr, Texas, the collaboration and coordination for the inaugural event ‘1a Cumbre de Negocios’ (1st Business Summit) was laid down.
This international event received tremendous support from the Pharr city leaders, leading to a successful gathering that promises to steer new businesses to the City of Pharr. The summit was organized and hosted by the Pharr EDC, underscoring the objective of highlighting the city of Pharr as a key location for nearshoring ventures from Mexico.
Promoting Nearshoring and Investment Opportunities
The ‘1a Cumbre de Negocios’ served as a platform to address the rising trend of nearshoring. Within the growing interest among companies in investing in the Rio Grande Valley, and particularly in Pharr, Texas, the summit presented a golden opportunity to facilitate their investment process. The challenges faced by Mexican investors, pertaining related to the unfamiliarity with the different US rules and guidelines for investment, were addressed in this summit.
Victor Pérez stressed the commitment of the Pharr EDC to extend its reach to potential investors, showcasing Pharr as a unique location offering land availability, creative incentive agreements, and a supportive city leadership. The highlight of Pharr’s international bridge, a significant asset for produce and all kinds of crossings, further illustrated the city’s potential as an investment hotspot.
Nearshoring Infrastructure Development
The summit discussions included the need for strategic infrastructure, such as storage facilities and warehouses, which could benefit companies aiming to transport goods swiftly across the border. Future plans unveiled the proposed expansion of Pharr’s bridge, a three-mile expansion to include a four-laned twin bridge which will streamline and expedite the cross-border transportation of goods.
Community Partnerships and Collaborations
The ‘1a Cumbre de Negocios’ underscored the significance of community ties and cooperative efforts. The Pharr EDC called upon partners who offer services to international investors, a move that became a turning point for the summit. Among these partners were Commodities Integrated Logistics (CIL), who played a sponsorship role.
Julio I. Quiroga from the UTRGV Center for Entrepreneurship and Trade, as well as attorney Patricio Belden Saroa of Cachauex, Cavazos & Newton Law Firm were instrumental in the summit’s success. They enlightened the attendees with their presentation on ‘Options for Establishing Your Business in the United States.’
Benjamin J. Schatz from Foster LLP, US & Global Immigration Services contributed by providing information about visas for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Workers, covering both Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas.
Joel Fernandez, an Accountant representing Burton, McCumber & Longoria, shed light on the tax implications for investors with his presentation on ‘What Investors Should Know About How Their Investment Will Affect Them (Taxes).’
Customs Agents Everardo Sustaita of Sustaita Logistics Center LP and Adrian Gonzalez of Global Alliance clarified ‘Laws & Rules, Import Requirements (Food, Medical, General) Benefits of Nearshoring’.
Marcela Arredondo, from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley-Business Development Center, provided insight into Business Consulting and Resources for International Companies. Blanca Villalobos, a representative from IBC Bank, educated attendees about Best Banking Practices, Financial Services, and Policies and Processes. All these contributions made the “1a Cumbre de Negocios” a fruitful event.
The resounding success of the ‘1a Cumbre de Negocios’ paves the way for future such initiatives, with another summit already being planned in Mexico City. This international project by Pharr EDC has not only heightened Pharr’s profile as a preferred investment destination but has also fostered a stronger alliance with our Mexican partners, marking a favorable beginning for the Pharr Economic Initiative.
The first leg of the Pharr Economic Initiative held in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, was a resounding success, and the City of Pharr, Texas, and the Pharr Economic Development Corp. (PEDC) now have their sights set on expanding this prosperous venture into other areas. The initiative, which is a testament to cross-border collaboration and the growing nearshoring trend, has fostered an atmosphere of robust business interaction and exchange of ideas between two economically active regions.
Pérez, President and CEO of the PEDC, recently expressed his satisfaction with the initiative’s first phase, the “1aCumbre de Negocios” (First Business Summit). Pérez revealed to Texas Border Business that the presentations made during the summit sparked immense interest from potential investors who actively engaged in the discussions and were seen documenting the proceedings with photographs of the screens displaying the presentations. He highlighted that the attendees’ enthusiasm and keen interest underscored the effectiveness of the summit and affirmed the potential for future success.
Taking the initiative to the next level, Pérez disclosed plans for a partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). This collaboration will ensure that international investors, not just from Mexico and Canada, but also from South America, receive all the assistance they need. Pérez envisions a Pharr-based hub where investors can access legal aid, CPAs, staffing resources, and more. These comprehensive provisions would help facilitate their business investments in the city.
Pérez’s remarks confirm that the PEDC have been inundated with inquiries since the event, signaling its palpable success. He alluded to a sizeable number of investors who missed out on the inaugural event due to registration cut-offs but remained keen on joining future initiatives. This interest has stimulated plans for another summit, this time in Mexico City, to cater to this expanded audience.
On the topic of visas, a primary concern among potential investors, Pérez highlighted the importance of addressing the various visa options available for entrepreneurs and their families. Such knowledge would ensure a seamless transition for investors looking to establish operations in the United States.
Reflecting on the inaugural event, Pérez recalled his address to the attendees. He expressed gratitude to the investors for their time and interest, assuring them that the city of Pharr stood ready to support them throughout their investment journey. He emphasized the city’s commitment to international investors, ensuring that they would receive the necessary attention and support to navigate their business pursuits in Pharr successfully.
Pérez concluded by reiterating the wider goal of the initiative – promoting not just the City of Pharr but the entire region. This international project goes beyond the immediate benefits for Pharr and promises to strengthen the entire region’s economic prospects. The initiative’s second phase will indeed continue to build on the success of the first, setting the stage for a flourishing cross-border economic landscape. Pharr Texas is the place to be!