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LAREDO, Texas – Living and working on a border, being competitive is key, as is working as a team on both sides of the border.

These were some of the points stressed at a meeting organized by North American Strategy for Competitiveness, otherwise known as NASCO, and held Monday in Laredo.

Founded in 1994 “NASCO is a tri-national trade coalition that advocates for competitiveness through logistics, infrastructure, security and a skilled workforce,” according to its official website.

Tiffany Melvin, president of NASCO, was on hand to update the guests on what the organization has been working on, but also requested feedback from the around 40 stakeholders who attended the meeting celebrated in the IBC Administration Building in Laredo.

“We are looking for feedback from our members, at any level or representation,” Melvin said after the meeting. “Some members do take more advantage in providing feedback so I feel they get more attention at the federal level.”

According to Melvin, the Laredo region has been doing a great job at updating NASCO on important issues, but she added that there is a lot more that can the done.

Some topics mentioned during the almost three-hour meeting were the different councils NASCO has working for its members, such as, Supply Chain & Logistics, North American Neighborhood, Women’s Leadership, México, Workforce Development, and Energy and Environment.

It is important to educate the federal governments in Canada, U.S. and Mexico, but also to respect one another, to always think about North American and knowing that “all trade is personal,” Melvin said.

“Laredo does have great advocates who do the effort to travel to D.C. and make their voices heard, but sometimes is also about constancy, the process of advocacy and education,” Melvin added. “It has to be a joint effort but there is a lot of ways that Laredo can continue to engage and use NASCO as an additional resource.”

Some representatives expressing different ideas they are working on were Miguel Tostado of GEOMMAG Logistics from Monterrey, México; Neal McCaleb, Ambassador at Large in Oklahoma City; Isabelle Godbout from C.A.T. Canadá.

Gerald “Jerry” Schwebel, executive vice-president of IBC Bank, and a former NASCO President, considered the meeting a successful one.

“Is an opportunity to learn about what NASCO is doing and at the same time provide feedback so NASCO can add that to its initiative,” Schwebel said. “The next step is the follow up process of what information NASCO takes from here, the success stories, and deliver that message to the federal government, or at the state level.”

Topics for which some members expressed concern were: the implementation of the Single Window Initiative and its challenges; the understanding of the Automotive Commercial Environment (ACE); importance of receiving NASCO’s support when expressing our border’s feelings in a national level; having a resource to receive information when there’s some work going on vehicular accident in certain point of the highway; etc.

“NASCO can be the voice of this communities, but it is important to have inclusive meetings in a local and regional level,” Melvin said. “My goal is to create a mechanism and work more closely.”

According to NASCO’s official website their strategy for competitiveness includes: Improve the North American supply chain, logistics systems and transportation network; Eliminate unnecessary trade barriers and reduce cross border inefficiencies; Strengthen the quality of the North American workforce; and, Promote North American energy independence, security and opportunity.