NAFTA20 North America Business Summit – A Vision For The Future


Press release issued by the NAFTA20 North America Business Summit: Twenty years ago, three world leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered in San Antonio, Texas to preside over the initialing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), marking the conclusion of negotiations over the most significant trade agreement in recent history. Since then, billions of dollars in trade and investment flows have infused a new level of economic strength into all three countries.

In November of this year, through the symbolic significance of its 20 year anniversary, business and civic leaders from across the region will convene in San Antonio for the first time since NAFTA’s inception at the NAFTA20 North America Business Summit to share outcomes and experiences collected over the past two decades, and to develop a unified vision for the future of North American trade. The goal of the NAFTA20 North America Business Summit is to bring attention to the importance of NAFTA, stimulate new cross border partnerships and continue to grow economic benefits for all.

“In the two decades since the signing of NAFTA, San Antonio has blossomed into a major center of trade in the 21st century global economy," says San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. "This summit will honor those who helped forge this critical agreement as well as help stimulate new economic opportunities and partnerships throughout North America."

The NAFTA20 North America Business Summit, presented by Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos (AEM), North American Development Bank (NADB) and the City of San Antonio, will be held at The Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio on Nov. 15 and 16, 2012.

NAFTA20 will bring together some of the most prominent leaders and thinkers in the region, from both the private and public sector, to discuss critical topics affecting international business, including trade relations, faster, safer trade movement across borders, enhancing regional competitiveness, and supply chain and logistics. According to AEM Chairman Eduardo Bravo, this event will help increase business and investments between the countries and highlight San Antonio’s significant role in international trade. “San Antonio is the hub of NAFTA,” says Bravo. “Not only is there a  historical relevance, with the conclusion of negotiations between former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari that took place in San Antonio in 1992, but San Antonio is also a true embodiment of the agreement’s success and significance in regard to international trade relations.  The city serves as a vital center for NAFTA related surface trade and logistics, with Interstate 35—the Pan American Highway—and Interstate 10 providing unparalleled distribution access for every direction in North America.”

Since NAFTA’s official inception in 1994, trade and investment in North America has grown exponentially, with more than $1 billion USD of trade each day between the United States and Mexico alone.

“NAFTA played a critical role in redefining and strengthening trade relations within North America, and creating what is now the largest free trade area in the world,” says Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Managing Director, NADB. “Relations between United States, Canada and Mexico today are a testament to how NAFTA has helped shaped the international business landscape in the last 20 years.”

Capitalizing on the unparalleled experience and wealth of knowledge that will come together in San Antonio this November, Summit organizers have developed targeted sessions, called Sector Dialogues, to guide and fuel active discussions among industry professionals and develop strategic outlooks for the future of NAFTA as it relates to the Energy, Automotive, Bioscience, Healthcare, Aerospace and Small-to-Medium Business industries.

The program of renowned speakers continues to grow; to-date the program includes:

  • Curtis V. Anastasio, President & CEO, NuStar Energy
  • Nelson Balido, President, The Border Trade Alliance
  • Nicolas Borda, Energy Expert, Greenberg Traurig
  • Craig Boyan, President & COO, H-E-B
  • Luis de la Calle, Founding Partner and Managing Director, De la Calle, Madrazo y Mancera S.C.
  • Jorge Canavati, VP Business Development, Port of San Antonio
  • Hon. Julián Castro, Mayor, San Antonio Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, University of Texas System
  • Henry G. Cisneros, Chairman, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF)
  • Cris Eugster, EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer, CPS Energy
  • José Antonio Fernández, Chairman & CEO, FEMSA
  • Enrique Berruga Filloy, Chairman, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEXI)
  • Jordy Herrera, Secretary of Energy, Mexico
  • Mir Imran, Founder and Chairman, InCube Labs
  • Jennifer A. Jeffs, President, The Canadian International Council (CIC)
  • Barry Lawrence, Director, Texas A&M Supply Chain Lab
  • John Manley, CEO, The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE)
  • David Márquez, Executive Director, Bexar County Economic Development
  • Chris Nielsen, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas
  • Robert A. Pastor, Director, Center for North American Studies, American University
  • Jaime Serra Puche, Chairman, SAI Consultores, Head NAFTA Negotiator, Mexico 1991–1994
  • Hon. Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
  • Rick Van Schoick, North American Center for Transborder Studies
  • Andrew Selee, VP for Programs, The Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Martha Smith, CEO, US-Mexico Foundation
  • Eduardo Solís, Chairman, Mexican Automotive Association (AMIA)
  • Roger W. Wallace, Vice President, Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Donald Walker, CEO, Magna International Inc.
  • Graham M. Weston, Chairman & Co-Founder, Rackspace
  • Rosalind Wilson, CEO, Canadian  Pacific Mexico
  • Hon. Nelson W. Wolff, Judge, Bexar County

Complete event information and registration for the NAFTA20 North America Business Summit is available at: