The Center for Latin American Commerce at Texas State University-San Marcos, along with the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of San Marcos coordinated a recent 24-member trade mission expedition with San Marcos’ sister city of Monclova, Mexico.The three-day civic, academic and trade mission was led by Mayor Susan Narvaiz and City Manager Rick Menchaca. The focus of the trip was for the cities to work together to increase trade, share ideas for commerce, and exchange best practices.
The sister city relationship between San Marcos and Monclova–famed for its steel industry–was formalized in 2004, but it actually began 20-years ago when former San Marcos firefighter Roy McMullin first offered assistance and outdated fire equipment to the struggling counterparts in Monclova. Members of the San Marcos Fire Department continued to volunteer their personal time and used equipment over the many years.
The three-day mission, partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Business and International Education program, was coordinated by Jack Mogab of the Center for Latin American Commerce in the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State.
“The function of the Center is to serve as a link between the McCoy College and the local and international community,” Mogab said. “This trip was really an opportunity for us to put into practice the Center’s mission by linking the university and the local and international communities together to explore cultural, academic and business opportunities. We look forward to building upon the relationships established during the visit.”
Chamber leaders exchanged ideas, educators discussed potential collaboration, and training sessions were conducted by representatives of the San Marcos Police and Fire departments.
“Our meetings with our sister Chamber in Monclova, ‘CANACO Monclova,’ were both interesting and productive,” said Phyllis Snodgrass, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce president. “We learned that we have much in common and exchanged fundraising ideas, advocacy strategies and other best practices. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship that is mutually beneficial for both communities”.
Trade opportunities also were explored with local economic development officials, and included tours of local manufacturing operations.
“Our follow-up will include matchmaking between companies in both cities, but the hardest part is complete,” said Amy Madison, of Economic Development San Marcos. “We established relationships that will make this next step much easier.”
The interest in trading is a two-way street. Texas’ largest export partner is Mexico. According to the Department of Commerce, Texas traded $56 billion worth of goods in 2007. Texas imports over $120 billion in product from Mexico each year.
By: Jayme Blaschke
University News Service