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Tenth Annual Building a Competitive US-Mexico Border Conference

Date & Time

Jun. 27, 2024
9:00am – 2:30pm ET


6th Floor Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center
and Online


The tenth meeting of this annual conference will consider a range of cross-border issues including AI governance, infrastructure, trade, and how elections on both sides of the border will shape the future of the US-Mexico bilateral relationship. 

This daylong conference will feature panel discussions with US and Mexican lawmakers, officials, and private sector representatives to spark a vibrant and productive dialogue focused on further strengthening the competitiveness of the U.S.-Mexico border region.

More speakers to be confirmed.

9:15 am – 9:30 am

Welcoming Remarks

  • Lila Abed, Director, Mexico Institute

    Lila Abed is the Acting Director of the Mexico Institute. She previously served as Deputy Director. Prior to becoming the Mexico Institute’s Deputy Director, Lila was a White House correspondent for the international news channel NTN24. An avid international analyst, she employs her skills in an array of media networks, including in her roles as a permanent collaborator at Radio Fórmula and as a weekly columnist for El Heraldo de México and Opinión51.



  • Britton Mullen, President, Border Trade Alliance

    BTA President Britton Mullen is the founding principal of BC Consulting, LLC, a full-service government affairs and strategic consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. She brings to the BTA more than a decade of professional experience crafting and executing government relations and communications strategies that have aided elected officials, corporations and trade associations. Prior to this she led the transportation portfolio for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP; served as vice president of legislative affairs for the American Trucking Associations; and as a senior staff member Rep. Henry Brown, Jr. of South Carolina. She holds a degree from the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

    9:30 am – 10:15 am

Panel 1 – The Border from the Congressional Perspective

  • Henry Cuellar (D-TX)

Representative Henry Cuellar has served as the US Representative for Texas's 28th congressional district since 2005. As a member of the 117th Congress, Cuellar serves on the House Appropriations Committee and House Steering and Policy Committee. Prior to serving in the US House of Representatives, Cuellar served as Texas Secretary of State, and in the Texas house of Representatives. Before beginning his career in government, Cuellar was a licensed customs broker and an Adjunct Professor for International Commercial Law at Laredo State University. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, a JD from the University of Texas Law School, an MA in International Trade from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, and a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.


  • Greg Stanton (D-AZ)

Representative Greg Stanton has served as the US Representative for Arizona's 4th congressional district since 2019. Previously, he was the mayor of Phoenix from 2012 until 2018, and was on the Phoenix City Council from 2000 to 2009. Stanton graduated from Cortez High School in west Phoenix and went on to attend Marquette University graduating with degrees in history and political science and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Stanton earned his JD from the University of Michigan Law School and worked as an education attorney from 1995 to 2000. In 2014, Stanton became an adjunct professor at Arizona Summit Law School. In the House of Representatives, Stanton is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force, and is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.


  • Lou Correa (D-CA)

Jose Luis Correa is an American businessman and politician serving as the US representative for California's 46th congressional district since 2017. His district is based in Orange County and includes the communities of Anaheim and Santa Ana, as well as parts of Orange. A member of the Democratic Party, Correa represented the 34th district in the California State Senate from 2006 to 2014. Before his career in politics, Correa was an investment banker, a real estate broker, and a college instructor. He was raised in Anaheim and graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Economics. He returned to college and earned his JD, and Master in Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).



  • Tony Gonzales (R-TX)

Representative Tony Gonzalez has served as the US Representative for Texas's 23rd congressional district since 2021. Gonzalez has twenty years of military experience and prior to joining the US House of Representatives, was a career cryptologist in the United States Navy, rising to the highest enlisted rank of Master Chief Petty Officer for his support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from American Public University and is a PhD candidate in International Development at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also holds a graduate certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University, and served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland system, where he taught political science with an emphasis on counterterrorism. 

 Moderator: Ruben Garibay, Puerto Verde

10:15 am – 10:55 am

Panel 2 – What’s Next for USMCA

  • Bob Costello, ATA

Bob Costello is the Chief Economist & Senior Vice President for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the national trade association for the trucking industry. Bob has been with ATA for over 25 years. Besides being Chief Economist, Bob also heads up ATA’s International Trade & Security Policy Department. In this capacity, he works on issues related USMCA, tariffs, customs, cargo theft and security generally.



  • Juan Carlos Baker, former Undersecretary of Mexico’s Ministry of Economy and CEO and Founding Partner, Ansley International Consultants

Juan Carlos Baker is a worldwide recognized expert in trade negotiations, international trade, regional economic integration, and foreign relations. In Mexico’s Ministry of Economy, Baker held several important positions; including Director General for North America, where he oversaw the successful implementation of NAFTA provisions in Mexico; Deputy Chief Negotiator of Mexico for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Chief of Staff to the Minister of Economy and Undersecretary of Foreign Trade.



  • Richard Kiy, President and CEO, Institute of the Americas

Richard Kiy was appointed as President & CEO of the Institute of the Americas on August 3, 2020. Kiy was formerly General Partner with Alumbra Advisors, a consulting firm with clients in the U.S, Mexico and Central America. Prior to that, Kiy served for nearly 14 years as President & CEO of the International Community Foundation (ICF) where he expanded the foundation’s grantmaking throughout Mexico and 11 other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While at ICF, Kiy served as Chairman and a founding board member of the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership.


 Moderator: Ambassador Anthony Wayne, Former US Ambassador to Mexico and Co-Chair of Mexico Institute’s Advisory Board

Introduction: Skip Hulett, Vice President and General Counsel at NatureSweet

10:55 am – 11:10 am


11:10 am – 12:00 pm

Panel 3 – AI and Cybersecurity: New Technology and New Challenges for the Border



  • Pablo Pruneda, Artificial Intelligence Department Coordinator, UNAM

    Pablo Pruneda has been a professor of civil law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) since 1999. He received a master's degree in Industry 4.0 and Process Automation in the 2022 from the University Polytechnic of Catalonia (BARCELONATECH). He has taken various courses on Artificial Intelligence and law at institutions such as the University of Salamanca, Spain, and the CISCO Networking Academy.



  • Humberto Martínez Cantú, President of Index

    Humberto Martínez Cantú was also formerly President of Index Reynosa from 2020-2022. He is an industrial engineer by profession and has more than 53 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. He is currently general secretary and national coordinator for committees of the National Index Council, as well as vice president of Cornelius Manufacturing of Mexico. In 2024, he replaced Luis Hernández as the president of National Council of the Maquiladora and Export Manufacturing Industry (Index).



  • Claudia del Pozo, Founder and Director, Eon Institute

    Claudia Del Pozo is the Founder and Director of Eon Institute, a women-led Mexican think-tank that seeks to future-proof society in light of today’s rapid technological changes. The organization was launched in the summer of 2023 as an independent spin-out of the area Claudia directed in C Minds, where she started working in 2016. In addition to her role at Eon Institute, she acts as a Senior Consultant for C Minds and a Member of the United Kingdom’s Emerging Technologies Advisory Council in Mexico.



  • Carlos Martinez, Vice President, Association of Customs Agents Nuevo Laredo

    Carlos Gerardo Martínez González is the dean and founder of the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores Campus Nuevo Laredo, a private university in the border between Mexico and the United States that promotes the logistics competitiveness of North America. He has a master’s degree in Latin American studies by the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University and he studied law in the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.


    Moderator: Kellee Wicker, Director Science & Technology Innovation Program, Wilson Center


12:00 pm – 12:40 pm

Panel 4 – China, Mexico, and Cross-Border Trade



  •  Michael Aspland, Executive Director, Sam Houston State University's Homeland Security Institute

    Prior to joining the SHSU staff, Michael served as the Deputy Director of Education Operations at the Common Operations Research Environment (CORE) Lab at the Naval Postgraduate School with a focus on Social Network Analysis for LEO and DoD professionals from 2014-2021. He also had an impressive career in local law enforcement, acting as the Assistant Police Chief for the Monterey, California Police Department from 2003-2014. 



  • Diego Marroquin, Bersin Fellow, Wilson Center

    Diego Marroquín Bitar is the Inaugural Bersin-Foster North America Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the driving force behind their North America research agenda. He co-founded the North America Project at the US-Mexico Foundation and the non-profit North America 3.0. His insights are frequently featured in publications such as The Hill, The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Letras Libres, and El Universal.





  • Jason Martinez, Executive Director, Mexico National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (MXCPEC)

    Dr. Martínez has 20 years of experience representing Mexico in multilateral and regional economic organizations and fora, such as APEC, G20 and WTO; and in trade relations with strategic partners throughout Asia-Pacific. He has collaborated in book chapters and papers related to this region, and has been invited as lecturer and keynote speaker by several universities and organizations.





  • Margaret Myers, Director Asia & Latin America Program, Inter-American Dialogue

    Margaret Myers is director of the Asia & Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue, adjunct researcher with the Núcleo Milenio sobre los Impactos de China en América Latina (ICLAC), and a senior advisor to the United States Institute of Peace. She established the Dialogue’s China and Latin America Working Group in 2011 to examine China’s growing presence in Latin America and the Caribbean.





    Moderator: Kenia Zamarripa, San Diego Chamber


    12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

    Lunch (Wilson Center dining room)

    Keynote address: Rachel Poynter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State


    Introduction: Lance Jungmeyer, President, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, and Chairman, Border Trade Alliance

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

Panel 5 – The New Administration of Mexico


  • Luis Rubio, Global Fellow Mexico Institute, former President COMEXI

    Luis Rubio is chairman of CIDAC (Center of Research for Development), an independent research institution devoted to the study of economic and political policy issues. He is a prolific writer on political, economic and international subjects. Before joining CIDAC, in the 1970's he was planning director of Citibank in Mexico and served as an adviser to Mexico's Secretary of the Treasury.



  • Luis Carlos Ugalde, Founder Integralia Consultores, former President INE

    Luis Carlos Ugalde is a Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He was president of Mexico's Federal Electoral Commission (IFE) from 2003–2007, presiding over the country’s bitterly contested 2006 presidential election. Dr. Ugalde has taught at various universities across Mexico and the United States, among them the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City, Georgetown University (2002), and American University (2000).



  • Alma Caballero, Managing Director, McLarty Northern Latin America Practice

    Ms. Caballero leads McLarty’s Mexico team and assists clients on a range of issues of strategic planning, government relations, and transaction management in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America. Prior to joining McLarty Associates, Ms. Caballero served as the Latin American Policy Advisor at Covington & Burling LLP, where she worked closely with the firm’s legal practices to provide strategic advice, risk assessment, and consulting services to international clients with investments and operations in Latin America, and Latin American clients with a global presence or interest in expanding their operations overseas.


Moderator: Duncan Wood, Vice President for Strategy & New Initiatives; Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute

2:30 pm

Closing Remarks

·        Lila Abed and Britton Mullen


Lou Correa

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA)

US Representative for California's 46th congressional district
image - henry cuellar

Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX)

U.S. House of Representatives
Representative Tony Gonzalez (R-TX)

Representative Tony Gonzalez (R-TX)

U.S. House of Representatives
Bob Costello

Bob Costello

Chief Economist & Senior Vice President for the American Trucking Associations (ATA)
Juan Carlos Baker

Juan Carlos Baker

CEO and founding partner, Ansley International Consultants
Carlos Martínez González

Carlos Martínez González

VP - North America Affairs Commission, CAAAREM (Mexican National Confederation of Customs Brokers); Mexican Substitute Custom Broker
Michael Aspland, Institute for Homeland Security, Sam Houston State University

Michael Aspland

Executive Director - Institute for Homeland Security - Sam Houston State University
Diego marroquin Bitar

Diego Marroquín Bitar

Inaugural Bersin-Foster North America Scholar
Image - Margaret Meyers

Margaret Myers

Former Fellow;
Director, Asia and Latin America Program, Inter-American Dialogue
Luis Rubio image

Luis Rubio

Global Fellow;
Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member; Chairman, México Evalúa; Former President, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEXI); Chairman, Center for Research for Development (CIDAC), Mexico

Luis Carlos Ugalde

Director General, Integralia Consultores
Claudia del Pozo

Claudia del Pozo

 Founder and Director of Eon Institute
Pablo Pruneda Gross

Pablo Pruneda

Coordinator of the Law and Artificial Intelligence Research Line (LIDIA) of the Legal Research Institute of the UNAM
Jason Martinez

Jason Martinez

Independent Consultant, Honorific Executive Director for the Mexican Chapter of Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC)
Alma Caballero

Alma Caballero

Managing Director, McLarty Associates
Rachel Poynter

Rachel Poynter

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State 
Richard Kiy

Richard Kiy

President and CEO, Institute of the Americas

Hosted By

Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more