Trade Meeting in Presidio Looks at Past, Future Plans for Border

Trade Meeting in Presidio Looks at Past, Future Plans for Border

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

PRESIDIO - Members of the trade community, customs brokers and importers gathered on Tuesday in Presidio to have their voices heard and to listen from border and county officials on the status and future plans of Presidio and Ojinaga. 

"We know that there's a lot of growth in the works for this community. We are simply working with the community to ensure that we keep pace with the growth that the region is seeing and will see in the near future," Acting Port Director, Officer Steven Green, said.

Among the focal points were a look at importation statistics, procedure changes for the cargo primary booth, infrastructure expansion, railroad renovation and expansion and the status of the cattle inspections. Since the visit of Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, the energy in Ojinaga has changed dramatically for the better.

"It's commerce, it's trade, it's quality of life issues," Presidio County Judge, Paul Hunt, said.

Nieto issued a Presidential Order to begin building a bridge on the border, set to be complete as early as this December. Mexico is also looking to add a pipeline through the state of Chihuahua which will help the oil and gas industry tremendously. Presidio also hopes to be a prospect. 

"Mexico looks like they're going to have natural gas and I'm sure we're going to be sitting in the middle of two of the biggest gas reserves in the world. Hopefully somebody will bring us natural gas," Brad Newton from the Presidio Municipal Development District, said.

The cattle industry still finds itself in an agricultural limbo as they still wait for the return of USDA inspectors to Ojinaga. The numbers of cattle imports dropped tremendously from 2012 to 2013.

"The switch from border paranoia to border promise is beginning," Hunt said.

As projects are developing at a rapid rate, Presidio hopes for more local involvement.

"A lot of these things are happening and I think we're not all communicating like we probably need to. I think that's one of the reasons it's probably encountering some difficulty and not moving along like it should," Presidio Mayor, John Ferguson, said.