PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES / PAST – CURRENT PROGRAMS
THE CHAMBER TODAY
The United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce has always worked toward closer ties between the public and private sectors in both nations. In addition to membership activities, the Chamber today is involved in several projects that directly affect U.S.-Mexico commercial, educational and cultural relations.
Bajio Cleaner Production Implementation Program
English Proficiency: A Survey of What Employers Need For their Spanish-Speaking Workforce
Growing the Nation’s Hispanic Manufacturing Supplier Base
Wiring the Border
Ventana Ambiental Mexico (VAM)
The Seven Principles of Environmental Stewardship
The Buen Vecino Internship Program
O’NET Jobs on the Border Project
Sector Task Forces
Publications and Electronic Resources
Hispanic Leadership Net
Bajio Cleaner Production Implementation Program (CPIP) The Inter-American Development Bank Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB MIF) and the Mexican federal government Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) will fund a 32 months Cleaner Production Implementation (CPI) Program to be conducted in the Bajio Region of Mexico. The Region includes the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Queretaro and San Luis Potosi, and contains over 32,174 business firms. The purpose of the program is to promote the use of cleaner production and environmental management as tools to assist companies reduce their costs of production and thus increase their profitability. The general objective of the program is to increase the competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the Bajio region in the automotive, chemical, hospital, hotel, and tanning business sectors through improvements made in efficiency and productivity.
English Proficiency: A Survey of What Employers Need For their Spanish-Speaking Workforce A recent report by the U.S. Census bureau shows that one (1) in five (5) residents speak a language other than English at home. Spanish is by far the most common, with about 28 million speakers. While approximately half of residents who speak another language also reported being fluent in English, the large number of residents without English proficiency raises concerns about their ability to function in the workplace. In response, DOL/ETA recently launched the Hispanic Worker Initiative to help workers find and prepare for new job opportunities. The Hispanic Worker Initiative is focused on helping Hispanic Americans take advantage of job opportunities in high growth sectors of the economy such as health care, information technology, automotive, advanced manufacturing, transportation and energy. The US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) has asked the US-Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation (USMCEF) to undertake a study project to understand what employers need for their Spanish-speaking employees. The purpose of the study is to inform policymakers and others about employer needs in order to guide program development for limited English speaking job seekers and workers.
Growing the Nation’s Hispanic Manufacturing Supplier Base. The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC) is deploying a “best practices” approach to increase the participation of Hispanic small and medium manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) in selected states in defense and commercial manufacturing supply chains qualified prime contractors and/or subcontractors. Markets have changed dramatically over the past ten years. Corporations have significantly restructured their organizations and re-engineered many of their processes, including procurement. These companies will continue to search for innovative ways of decreasing administrative and other costs, including reducing their Tier 1 suppliers and increasing the efficiency of their operations, including greater use of e-business strategies, greater outsourcing of non-core competencies, and exploration of new markets. Government, traditionally a significant source of business for minority entrepreneurs, has moved in a similar direction, redesigning its procurement process and contracting for a greater number of services. The project’s objectives are to (a) increase the readiness and competitiveness of Hispanic SMEs through innovation training and technical assistance and (b) help these Hispanic SMEs successfully pursue contract opportunities with Prime Contractors and 1st Tier Suppliers in the Federal and commercial marketplace. USMCOC will use a mix of technical resources that have the qualifications and expertise to deliver the requirements of a SME that participates in this program. This mix of partners varies from SME to SME and may include the Federal Laboratory Consortium, the laboratories at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, universities, technical and community colleges and economic development districts.
Wiring the Border Partnership for Prosperity report presented to President Bush and Fox highlighted ways to integrate Mexican small-and-medium sized enterprises into the global economy and cross-border supply and distribution chains using e-commerce and other information technology tools. As a model for future projects to follow, the Chamber’s Wiring the Border project has been pointed out. This project creates a virtual network of 200 small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME’s) along the Southwestern border of the United States, from San Diego/Tijuana to Brownsville/Matamoros connected through e-commerce. In concert with the United States Department of State, the Chamber held an E-Commerce Conference in Tabasco to promote trade and commerce along the Southern Mexico States.
Ventana Ambiental Mexico (VAM) founded as ACCESS-MEXICO project through an U.S. Department of Commerce grant. The project consists of an online, searchable environmental database of Mexico’s federal, state and municipal laws, regulations and technical standards. The Chamber program, in cooperation with Mexico’s Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources is designed to: 1.) Remove non-tariff barriers related to regulatory uncertainty, 2.) Enhance business opportunities and 3.) promote sustainable development. The VAM went online on April, 2002 and an initiative to produce an English version is underway.
The Seven Principles of Environmental Stewardship In furtherance of the goals of the Border XXI Environmental Framework, these Principles have been developed through a public/private partnership to promote sustainable development in the U.S./Mexico border area. Under a grant from the U.S. EPA, the Chamber and the Foundation developed final performance indicators for each of the Principles.
The Buen Vecino Internship Program The BVIP is one of the Chamber’s most successful projects. More than 200 upper-level, bi-lingual students participated from 1995 to 2001. The program is designed to provide the students with an opportunity to learn about their neighboring country’s culture and commerce. Students gain an overview of U.S.-Mexico business relations through contact with the Chamber, knowledge about a specific industry by serving as an intern in a USMCOC corporate member office, and exposure to another country’s culture by living with a host family.
O’NET Jobs on the Border Project Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, this project is a collaboration between the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and Aguirre International. The project will study demand and emerging occupations in bi-national economic zones on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Identifying the language and literacy needs of workers to fill these jobs will be a special focus. The study will also look at the capacity of education and training institutions to prepare the existing labor pool for these new jobs, and will recommend effective strategies for workforce development
Sector Task Forces The Chamber has organized Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Business & Commercial Services, Financial & Risk Management and Sustainable Development task forces to bring private-sector leaders together for consideration of sector-specific issues and publication of the Chamber’s position on key policy issues.
Publications and Electronic Resources The Chamber’s on-line service provides up-to-date information on the USMCOC and on Mexico, including economic and trade data, as well as developments in binational relations. The Chamber also publishes a newsletter, an annual membership directory and resource guide, and special reports.
NAFTA Forum The NAFTA Forum is a non-partisan educational initiative led by the Chamber to help inform members of Congress and their staff, corporations, organizations and the general public about the North American Free Trade Agreement in particular and U.S.-Mexico relations in general. The Chamber has organized several forums on Capitol Hill, led Congressional and business educational delegations to Mexico, and will continue a program of meetings in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, as well as publication of issue papers and sponsorship of other forums for detailed consideration of major issues confronting both nations.
CADRE The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Environment is a service provided to Chamber members and other companies that seek to prevent lengthy and costly litigation over international contract, environmental or labor disputes. CADRE operates under the spirit of NAFTA and provides mediation and arbitration services through the Chamber and affiliated legal counsels.
Business Assistance The Chamber is signing a cooperative agreement with Nacional Financiera, Mexico’s major development bank, in order to promote strategic alliances and joint ventures between entrepreneurs in both countries. The Chamber and NAFIN will form a Working Group to coordinate this process and a Business Assistance Team to help advise companies and develop mutually beneficial relationships.
ALLIANCE magazine, a quarterly publication and advertising medium published by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC), is committed to provide timely and relevant data on our binational business community, expanding communication for our members and furthering the goals of being the “Ambassador of Good Business”. Following on the success of the issue celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Chamber and the 15th anniversary of NAFTA, we continue our regular quarterly issues of Alliance with an added impetus and perspective that will expand the depth and scope of our content. We have commitments from our members and prominent participants to continue their learned input and experience to our publications.
“Transporte International” is a forum designed to address the issues facing international trade, manufacturing, transportation and all related business. We bring together business leaders and key bi-national government leaders to dialog and explore a broad range of ways to further integrate our economies through trade. It is our intent to focus on current issues that affect transportation, energy, manufacturing, services, trade facilitation, regulatory structure and emerging barriers for the express purpose of continuing to address the most important issues and information needed for our countries to have a competitive edge in the global market. This important public-private sector event enhances the capacity of our two countries to increase their joint competitiveness and participation in the global trade system. The conference promotes transportation, energy and trade capacity building, security and sector development, both of which are consistent with NAFTA, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), and the latest Mexico’s National Infrastructure Program 2007-2012.
The U.S.-Mexico Cultural & Educational Foundation established the Hispanic Leadership Development Programs (HLDP) with the purpose of combating the Hispanic High School dropout rate through increased resources and education. In addition, the program will target Community College students with information on grants, scholarships and internships that will alleviate the financial burden that often prevents these students from achieving their goals. The goals of the HLDP will be met through the sponsorship, development, and implementation of a variety of activities, such as educational internships, exchange programs, forums, dialogues, conferences, seminars, training programs, cultural activities, exhibits, awards and scholarships..
To augment its role as a private corporation fostering trade and investment, the Chamber in 1996 established the United States-Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation to lead educational and cultural initiatives that will foment greater understanding between the two countries.