Make it with Mexico: Binational Conference to Boost US-Mexico Trade

Photo Credit: Jorge Aguilar on Unsplash


Much of the discussion on international business relations and manufacturing centers on countries that are often adversarial to domestic interests. Meanwhile, the US is on friendly terms with its neighbor to the south.

So how does importing everyday goods from halfway across the world help protect our climate, let alone our economy?

Why don’t we have a freight line to carry manufactured goods across our southern border?

And, is it smart to produce sensitive medical and computer technologies in places that don’t have a high-level of regard for confidentiality, when we could simply: Make it With Mexico?

These are some questions that will be discussed at the Independent Voter Project’s (IVP) inaugural “Make It With Mexico” conference on September 19-21. The event will bring together US and Mexico government and industry stakeholders to talk about win-win solutions for the people and economies of the United States and Mexico.

The conference is co-hosted by two California legislators: the Chairman of California’s Binational Commerce Committee, Assemblymember David Alvarez (D), and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Brian Jones (R). 

“Over 130,000 people cross the border every day to work, to do business, who live here, who live on the other side of the border,” Alvarez explained in a recent IVP-sponsored podcast

Over 4,000 trucks carrying imports and exports on average cross the Otay Mesa point of entry every day – a significant factor to the economy and way of life in the region. Cars, aerospace equipment, textiles, and many other products are manufactured and shipped across borders.

Yet, there is no railroad to ship the products across the border.

Alvarez says the “Make It With Mexico” conference will be an important moment “for those of us who are from the region to display and be proud of who we are and why we are here,” and for those who are not from the region to better understand the issues at play.

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IVP says the conference is meant to be an educational and relationship-building opportunity for legislators and industry representatives to capitalize on underutilized opportunities between the United States and Mexico. It is modeled after the group’s annual Business and Leadership Conference held in Hawaii.

The Business and Leadership Conference offers a relaxed environment for legislators, policy experts, and business leaders free from the partisan-focused political and press machines that would otherwise discourage open and honest conversations from the people who directly impact policy and industry decisions.

The same approach applies to “Make It With Mexico.” Attendees can participate in presentations, table discussions, and engage with each other in a casual environment that they can enjoy with their families. Lobbying is strictly prohibited during the event. 

“Rather, the intimate format of the conference, and familial participation throughout, is designed to encourage authentic conversation and relationship building,” IVP states.

The “Make It With Mexico” conference has attracted major industry participants, including General Motors, SIMNSA, California Retailers Association, National Enterprises Inc, Altria, PG&E, MexInsurance, NADBank, and many others.

There may not be a more perfect time for the US to strengthen its manufacturing presence in Mexico. Business Basics reports that Mexico “sits in the perfect storm preparing it for an economic boom.”

More and more foreign companies are choosing to do business with Mexico, and there are many reasons why. For one, labor costs are relatively cheap, there is also an abundance of skilled laborers, and it has one thing no other manufacturing hotspot has:

The world’s largest economy is right next door – the United States.

It is also a critical time for the US to establish a greater manufacturing partnership with Mexico. Right now, China fills much of the US's manufacturing needs, but given the geopolitical location and climate, Mexico offers a less complicated and more advantageous market for the US and for Mexico.

International trade and manufacturing are complex issues, and the “Make It With Mexico” conference will dive deep into why bolstering partnerships between the US and Mexico would be a win-win for both sides.