El Paso is both geographically and historically a crossroads. Geographically, the city is at the center of the U.S.-Mexico border. For more than four centuries, El Paso has been a natural point for both north-south and east-west trade.

El Paso, the largest city on the southern United States border, together with its Mexican sister city, Juarez, form the largest international border community in the world. The community's location, size and legacy as a gateway for trade between two nations will keep it at the forefront of North American trade activity. In 1997, 21 percent of all U.S.-Mexico imports and 17 percent of exports were handled through El Paso-Juarez ports of entry.