April 9, 2004

USD’S “Ten Years of NAFTA” Conference Focuses on Changes Since Agreement

The University of San Diego hosts a day-long conference “Ten Years of NAFTA: U.S.-Mexican Regional Integration Along the Border” Friday, April 16 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.

The conference, bringing together government, business, civic and academic leaders from institutions in San Diego and Tijuana, marks the region’s first comprehensive reflection on the 1994 landmark North American Free Trade Agreement and its impacts on trade, immigration, the environment and other issues.

Richard E. Feinberg, senior director of the National Security Council’s Office of Inter-American Affairs during the Clinton Administration, is the luncheon speaker.

Feinberg, currently a professor at the University of California at San Diego, will discuss the future of NAFTA and other proposed trade agreements in the Americas.

Other participants include Adele Fasano, director of Field Operations for the San Diego office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Victor Clark Alfara, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana.

Also invited are Luis Cabrera, Mexican consul general in San Diego; David Stewart, U.S. consul general in Tijuana; and Robert Encinas, honorary Canadian consul in Tijuana.

“While the conference will highlight the bi-national collaboration that has flourished in recent years as a result of NAFTA, it will also provide opportunities for reflection on the current and future challenges posed by growing regional integration,” said David Shirk, director of USD’s Trans-Border Institute. “We want to generate analysis on a wide range of issues of interest to policy makers, the business community and stakeholders of our bi-national region.”

The conference will focus on issues present since NAFTA’s formation as well as new issues that have arisen since its signing. “Issues such as growth and development, environmental concerns and social inequality have been with us for the entire 10 years,” Shirk noted. “At the same time, President Bush now has a new guest worker proposal on the table and national security issues between the United States, Mexico and Canada have taken on critical importance since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

“This is unique opportunity to discuss NAFTA in all its impacts,” Shirk said. There will also be a discussion of further proposed trade agreements including the Central Free Trade Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

Panel discussion topics include “Business and Economic Development,” “Water, Power and Infrastructure Development” and “NAFTA, Migration and Demographic Change” and “NAFTA Security Relations.”

“We are pleased to bring together so many voices with a stake in NAFTA,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons. “How we meet the challenges of global integration in the San Diego-Tijuana region will be watched closely by the rest of the world and can serve as a model for bi-national cooperation and progress.”

For conference registration and a complete agenda for the conference is available at http://tbi.sandiego.edu/NAFTA-title.htm.

USD’s Trans-Border Institute seeks to help the U.S.-Mexican border community to serve as a vehicle of communication and dialogue between people on both sides of the border.

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