|Mike Smith of Husky Injection Molding, speaks during a panel discussion at the NAFTA 10th Anniversary Seminar and Luncheon presented by the College of Business Administration.|
|Jeffrey Davidow, president of the Institute of the Americas and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, serves as keynote speaker at the NAFTA luncheon.|
More than 250 people from on-campus, as well as surrounding businesses and abroad, gathered on Jan. 22 at an educational seminar and luncheon to highlight the 10-year anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The event, a La Bounty International Seminar, was hosted by the College of Business Administration in the Bronco Student Center?s Ursa Major Suite.
Lynn Turner, interim dean of the College of Business Administration, said all of the event speakers ?offered new insights to the challenges that the U.S., Canada and Mexico face in continued economic development and in working together.?
?My hope is that students were stimulated intellectually by the presentations and that they took advantage of the opportunities to network with the international business community,? Turner said.
The seminar featured panel discussions and question and answer sessions with consul generals of Mexico and Canada, educators and business executives from all three countries. Discussion topics included ?Mexico and Canada: 2004 Political and Economic Outlook,? ?The California, Mexican and Canadian Experience,? and ?The Canadian and Mexican Governments? Views? on NAFTA.
NAFTA is a trade pact signed in 1992 that would gradually eliminate most tariffs and other trade barriers on products and services passing between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Jeffrey Davidow, president of the Institute of the Americas and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, served as keynote. He recalled his involvement as a principal organizer of the first congressional hearings on NAFTA.
?In 1979, I didn?t think there would be such a thing as the North American Free Trade Agreement. I thought I should be doing something more relevant,? he said. ?So, my message to the younger people, to the students, is that we have to keep our minds open to what the future may bring.?
Even though NAFTA has been successful, Mexico is losing its competitive advantage, and therefore must continue to find ways to make it easier for American firms to do business there, said Davidow.
?The most important change Mexico must make is in its education,? he said. ?Mexico needs more engineers, more trained economists, more software producers, etc. More has to be spent on education.?