I recently completed the first Arizona governor-led trade mission to Mexico City in almost a decade. Here's why.
Gov. Doug Ducey // The Arizona Republic // July 4, 2015
Since being sworn-in as governor in January, I've worked to spread the message that we want Arizona to be the best state in the country to work and do business.
This means maximizing our opportunities to create new jobs and grow existing Arizona companies. We can do this by ensuring our state remains competitive on tax and regulatory policy, improving educational outcomes at all levels, and focusing our efforts on areas where Arizona has a distinct competitive advantage, like aerospace and defense.
Arizona also shares an international border with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Mexico. This represents a unique opportunity for Arizona businesses and workers to benefit from increased trade, capital investment, and job expansion.
That's why last month, I led a delegation of roughly 50 Arizona business and public policy leaders, representing key industries and economic development groups in our state, to Mexico City. There we began a dialogue about enhancing our economic partnerships with our friends on the other side of our international border.
It was the first gubernatorial-led trade mission to Mexico City in almost a decade, and I'm hopeful it will provide major economic benefits over the long-term for Arizona.
Already, Mexico is far and away Arizona's largest international trading partner. We just hit a record of $15.9 billion in trade with the country. That's more than all of the trade between Mexico and the Asia-Pacific Rim, and nearly as much as Mexico trades with Germany.
And Mexico is an important ally to advancing in the global economy — it is forecast to be the world's fifth-largest economy by 2050. The ascending and fast-growing Mexican economy will be good for both sides of the border, and it is not just all about GDP, job growth and investment.
As the Mexican people reap the benefits of free-market reforms taking place in Mexico today, and the resulting economic growth, we can expect to see a positive impact on security — specifically, border security. And that's something every Arizonan can get behind.
The economic opportunities between Arizona and Mexico are countless, and based on the warm response we received on our visit, Mexico agrees and stands ready to partner with us.
Among the highlights, our Arizona delegation had the opportunity to sit down with tele-communications titan Carlos Slim in Mexico City. He introduced our delegates to Mexico's industry leaders and hosted a reception that linked Arizona's top CEOs directly with Mexico's top CEOs.
Additionally, I met with the United States' Ambassador to Mexico, Mexico's Secretary of the Economy (a fellow Sun Devil), Mexico's director of revenue and custom services, and dozens of Mexican CEOs who are looking to expand into Arizona or invest more resources into their existing Arizona operations. That will mean more jobs for Arizona families.
But there's so much more to this relationship than one trip. That was only step one. Our efforts need to be ongoing.
I'm committed as governor to valuing and nurturing our relationships with our friends to the south. Where opportunities to expand trade and commerce exist, we will lead and we will partner.
Ultimately, this effort will require the ongoing support and political will of our Arizona congressional delegation. Legislative efforts like the one by Congresswoman Martha McSally and Senators McCain and Flake to designate the Sonoran Corridor Interstate, connecting I-19 and I-10 south of Tucson will be critical to our success.
I've repeated time and again that Arizona is open for business.
In these few short months since I've taken office, we've made real reforms with the help of the Legislature to reduce regulations in our state and make Arizona more competitive nationally.
Now it's time to take that competitive edge and bring jobs and investment to our state to better the lives of Arizonans. That's what this relationship with Mexico is all about.
Thriving economies on both sides of the border is a win-win for Arizona and Mexico, but that will only come by working together and demonstrating mutual respect.
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