The committee’s chairman, Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, along with Assemblyman Ben Hueso, Calexico Mayor Luis Castro and Mexicali Mayor Francisco Pérez Tejada attended the meeting along with other local and foreign officials.
The local panelists emphasized economic development in Imperial County through green energy without the relegation of farming, regional marketing to bring foreign investment, the reduction of wait times at the Calexico Port of Entry and increased trade with Mexico.
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The local panelists included Tim Kelley, director of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp., and Linsey Dale, executive director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau.
“It’s important to the city of Mexicali to be here,” said Pérez Tejada, because the Mexicali Valley and the Imperial Valley are strategic economic zones.
The Imperial Valley has to know what Mexicali is doing in economic development, he said adding, “We (Mexicali) want to be the No. 1 city in Mexico in the aerospace industry.”
Pérez stressed the need to “appreciate assets” on both sides of the border and to promote regional cooperation instead of competition.
California needs to improve trade with Mexico, said Hueso, D-Chula Vista, adding that the state could gain $20 billion in trade by mimicking the trade Texas has with Mexico.
Moreover, the state could gain $9 billion just by reducing border wait times to about an hour, he said.
If bi-national trade is encouraged, “Mexico stands to gain, we stand to gain and we promote stability” on both sides of the border, said Hueso.
Hueso also discussed a plan he’s proposing to reduce wait times by use of an enhanced driver’s license that could substitute the passport procedure.
The discussion of the plan will take place in December in Sacramento, he said.
Having the knowledge presented today will assist Calexico in reaching “the global competitiveness to move forward and prosper,” said Calexico Mayor Castro.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org