As you may know, on January 29th, 2020 President Trump signed into law the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which provides certainty and confidence to North American businesses.

As president and CEO of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio México-Estados Unidos), I was invited to witness the ceremony.

While we await for Canada’s approval for the agreement to enter into effect, we see this as an occasion to celebrate, and focus on the implementation steps.

During the ceremony, I had the occasion to greet U.S.Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, along with other public and private sector leaders that concurred in the ceremony.

Al Zapanta, president and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

In mid-January, I traveled to Mexico City to conduct a series of meetings with board members, Mexican Government Officials and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau.

I first met with Dr. Jesús Seade, Undersecretary for North American and Chief Mexican Negotiator for the USMCA. During the meeting we discussed the intricacies of the bilateral relationship, the evolution of the North American Free Trade Agreement into the USMCA, and agreed to maintain close communication to support the implementation process of this new agreement.

José García Torres, President of the Valle de México Chapter, and Sergio García, Advisor for Trade and Investment of the USMCOC joined me for a meeting with key officials of Mexico’s Secretary of Economy (SE): Mtra. Liliana Padilla, Director General of Policy and Investment Promotion; Act. Sergio Juárez, Director General of Foreign Investment; César Remis, Chief of the International Business Unit; Luis Godoy Rueda, Director of Global Economic Intelligence Unit, and Lydia Antonio, Director General of Administration of Trade Agreements. Officers from SE expressed interest in working with the Chamber to promote small and medium businesses and also to identify supply chain challenges and solutions.

On January 22, I met with my old friend, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico, Dr. Víctor Villalobos, who shared my vision and priorities for “el campo mexicano”: to increase rural income, improve food security and self-sufficiency in basic commodities. Secretary Villalobos expressed his interest to collaborate once more with the Chamber and to be with us in future events.

During my trip, I met with Dr. José Zozaya, President and Executive Representative of Kansas City Southern de México, and Chairman of the USMCOC Board of Directors, and Francisco Cervantes, President of Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico (Confederación Nacional de Cámaras Industriales-CONCAMIN). We are currently in the process of developing a Memorandum of Collaboration between the both chambers.

José García Torres, Sergio García and I were hosted by Lic. Pablo Ruiz Limón, Director of Consejos Consultivos of Citibanamex, and Lic. Francisco Caballero Fernández, Head of Public Affairs at the magnificent Palacio de Cultura Citibanamex – Palacio de Iturbide in downtown Mexico City. Citibanamex has extended an invitation to host our Binational Conference in Mexico City, on November 18-19, 2020.

Finally, I had the opportunity to meet U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau. I presented him the history of the Chamber and our accomplishments, and invited the Ambassador to serve as Honorary President of the Chamber, which he graciously accepted. Along with Ambassador Landau, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., Martha Bárcena, would be our Chamber Honorary Presidents. We are very proud to have them both as supporters of the USMCOC.

Save the Date!

The USMCOC Binational events for this year are scheduled for the following dates. Please mark your calendars! Additional details and sponsorship opportunities information will be available shortly.

Binational Annual Board of Directors Meeting, Conference and Good Neighbor Awards
May 20-21, 2020 – Washington, D.C.

Cinco de Mayo Festival
May 5, 2020 – Las Colinas-Irving, TX

Binational Conference Mexico
November 18-19, 2020 – Mexico City

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is based upon commentary provided by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and its president and CEO, Al Zapanta, in a recent newsletter to members.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows U.S.Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Al Zapanta.