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SENATOR SHAPLEIGH ATTENDS XXVI BORDER GOVERNORS' CONFERENCE IN CALIFORNIA
August 14, 2008

"Over the last few years, state lawmakers from California to Tamaulipas have united, through the Border Legislative Conference, around a vision of moving people and products safer, faster and smarter in a world of 21st century trade. Now, the southern border, with many millions more crossings and a vibrant trade profile, must unite behind a similar vision to move the new United States administration in January."

Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org

LOS ANGELES, CA –  Today, Senator Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, is participating in the XXVI Border Governors' Conference in Los Angeles, California.  Senator Shapleigh was invited to attend as Chair of the Border Legislative Conference (BLC), a binational program that brings together state legislators from the ten U.S. and Mexico border states to address challenges and economic opportunities common to both countries.   

Over the last few years, state lawmakers from California to Tamaulipas have united, through the Border Legislative Conference, around a vision of moving people and products safer, faster and smarter in a world of 21st century trade.

"Governors on the northern border are uniting behind this vision with innovations like enhanced drivers licenses," Senator Shapleigh said.  "Now, the southern border, with many millions more crossings and a vibrant trade profile, must unite behind a similar vision to move the new United States administration in January."

In December 2005, the members of the BLC unanimously adopted the New Border Trade Proposal in El Paso.  Collaboration, strategic planning, and commitment among federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the private sector and border communities, is essential to develop a border system that is safe, fast, and smart for the 21st Century.

Recent figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that Texas leads all states in cross-border commerce with $108.6 billion in goods from Mexico, which constitutes 68% of its total imported goods.   The "Twin Plant" or maquiladora industry contributes $105 billion of that total.    

In December 2007, Senator Shapleigh attended the Canada Border Security Tour in Vancouver, British Columbia, organized by the Consulate General of Canada and the City of Seattle.  In 2008, Senator Shapleigh also attended "Cross-Border Travel and Trade: A U.S./Canada Forum on WHTI [Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative]" in Detroit, Michigan and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to discuss challenges and solutions on cross-border travel.

In May, Senator Shapleigh co-sponsored the Americas 2020 mobility conference in Austin, Texas.  Americas 2020 brought together government and private sector stakeholders from the U.S., Mexico and Canada to discuss and identify solutions to enhance the security and economic competitiveness of North America.

Speakers included retired General Barry McCaffrey, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Senator Shapleigh, TxDOT Commissioner Ted Houghton, and representatives of key stakeholders, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Canadian Consulate, TxDOT, Texas Transportation Institute, Ports to Plains Corridor, North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, and USA Logistics Carriers, LLC.

Most recently, in July, Senator Shapleigh attended the CSG-West Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska to present findings from the Americas 2002 conference.

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