EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Employment and investor interest are on the rise in the El Paso-Las Cruces-Juarez area, as North America’s industry is abuzz with talk of reshoring, near-shoring and electrical vehicle production.

“We are seeing continuous inquiries of companies worldwide looking at our region for expansion and relocation opportunities,” said Jon Barela, CEO of the El Paso-based Borderplex Alliance. “Many of these I would put in the mega-project category – those half a billion dollars and up, with hundreds if not thousands of jobs hopefully coming to our region in the next 12 to 24 months.”

The business advocacy group is set on pitching the region to corporations looking into bringing their production lines closer to home, given the COVID-19 pandemic-era disruptions and tense relations with China. Reshoring means relocating production lines from abroad to the U.S. Near-shoring is the trend of relocating those lines from Asia to Mexico or Canada.

This week, the alliance is focusing on luring investment from Europe, an effort they’re calling “allied shoring.”

That will be one of the highlights of its 2023 Global Border Summit featuring guest speaker Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. The summit kicks off Thursday morning at the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park, 106 W. Mills Ave. in Downtown El Paso. The event is sold out, but the point is to spread the word about the professionals being trained in El Paso and Las Cruces universities, the disposition of government officials to accommodate new investment and the region’s young labor force, beginning with Juarez’s 330,000 maquiladora workers.

Former Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, takes questions after he speaks on the Commission on the UK’s Future report on December 5, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

“For the first time we’re bringing leaders from around the world to have them learn more about what the Borderplex region has to offer,” Barela said. “We’ll address circumstances in Europe, the confluence of crises around the world and how the Borderplex can position itself to be a safe haven for investors.”

The region is experiencing a strong post-pandemic recovery, with major companies announcing major new investments or expansions in the past two years. That included a TJX 2.5 million-square-foot project and the construction of a 2 million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center. Schneider Electric also announced a major expansion to its footprint in West El Paso.

TJ Maxx recently brought a distribution center to El Paso. (KTSM file photo)

“We are seeing record levels of interest for industrial relocation and expansion in our region. We have over 9 million square feet of industrial space being constructed as we speak,” Barela said. “By the end of the year, if not sooner, the Borderplex region will become the fourth-largest manufacturing hub in North America, surpassing the New York Tri-State region. We are currently the fifth-largest manufacturing region. The momentum that we are seeing with near-shoring, reshoring, and allied shoring is going to continue through this year and for the foreseeable future.”

With Juarez being a hub for the assembly of automobile components for U.S. and European automakers, business leaders are looking into how to get into electric vehicle production. It could take many years for electrical vehicles to be manufactured here, but it’s the right time to look into EV battery production, advocates say.

Mexican Consul General Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon is scheduled to welcome guests to the Global Border Summit. Regional and national experts will lead panels on health, immigration and economic development, among others.

For more information, visit the Borderplex Alliance website.