LAS CRUCES — Imagine an industrial park where the national border runs right through the middle.
That’s the hope for southern Doña Ana County where a master plan for such a facility could be completed within 100 days.
“The most unique thing is we can locate businesses on both sides of the border within a stone’s throw from each other,” said Jerry Pacheco, vice president with the Border Industrial Association and a trade columnist for the Journal.
Jon Barela, New Mexico Secretary of Economic Development, said that Gov. Susana Martinez and Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte signed an agreement to create a binational industrial campus.
“(They agreed to) promote the region of San Jerónimo and Santa Teresa to attract manufacturing, logistics and transportation companies to the area,” Barela said. “The campus would be approximately 300 acres in close proximity to the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.”
He said an exact location has not yet been chosen.
Pacheco said the idea for such a facility has been around for more than a decade. William Mattiace, executive director for the New Mexico Border Authority, said that the construction of the $400 million Union Pacific railroad intermodal facility in Santa Teresa has added momentum to the project as did the construction of a large Foxconn factory, where Dell computers are made, just south of the border.
“I think the spark plug is Union Pacific and Foxconn,” Mattiace said. “(Foxconn) is a huge corporation. They have 8,000 employees (in Juárez) and we have binational commerce going on that hasn’t been here previously.”
Barela said the clock is ticking.
“The two countries have agreed to complete a master plan for the binational industrial campus within the 100 days of the signing of the agreement on Nov. 30,” he said. “(This) will allow the border region to attract more value-added manufactur-ers and prevent the further flight of companies to the Pacific Rim.”
Pacheco said that businesses located on the U.S. side of the border would be subject to U.S. laws, etc., and vice versa for those in Mexico. But the businesses could freely interact.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” he said.
“Such an arrangement will allow tenants of the campus to achieve previously unattainable levels of economic advantage derived from combining the business climate advantages of both countries,” Pacheco wrote in a proposal for the facility.