Despite Hurdles, Legal Framework Exists for Establishing Bi-National Economic Zone Along U.S.-Mexico Border – Carolyn McIntosh

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    Speaking at the BiNED (Bi-National Economic Development) 2013 Fall Summit at the University of Texas at Brownsville, Denver Partner Carolyn McIntosh discussed the legal framework on which a BiNED zone might be built in Brownsville-Matamoros. According to a December 7, 2013 Brownsville Herald article, Ms. McIntosh claimed “there is no legal structure that authorizes a BiNED zone.” There also isn’t any legal structure precluding a BiNED zone, nor is it inconsistent with U.S. or Mexican law, she added. Ms. McIntosh also stressed that the concept is in keeping with the goals of NAFTA and that Brownsville-Matamoros is better suited than anywhere else on the U.S.-Mexico border for a BiNED zone thanks to other transportation infrastructure. She pointed out hurdles to the project, including a Mexican customs law that requires import and export tax exemptions to be codified, and emphasized the necessity of a phased approach. Ms. McIntosh advised cross-border pilot project or projects and possible investment sources be identified. “Legally the framework is there,” she said. “We just have to act on it.” Ms. McIntosh recommended a grassroots effort toward creating a BiNED zone as opposed to “working from NAFTA down.” “Working from the bottom up is going to be more productive for you,” she added.

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