PHOENIX – The opening of the State of Arizona’s new trade and investment office in Mexico, and commitments secured from public- and private-sector Mexican officials, are among the highlights of an Arizona-led trade mission to Mexico City last week that will spur trade opportunities and help to enhance the competitiveness of the region.
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) along with the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) and the City of Phoenix hosted a delegation of more than 70 Arizonans in Mexico City. In addition to launching the trade office, the entire delegation held strategic meetings focused along three economic tracks and critical issues for Arizona and Mexico: transportation, tourism and economic development.
The meetings culminated with pledges by Mexican officials to spend the equivalent of $1 billion on highway improvements to expedite the shipments of goods from central Mexico into the U.S. In addition, the U.S. and Mexican governments finalized a plan to invest $6.8 million implementing U.S. technology, equipment and training to enhance the efficiency of the military inspection station north of Hermosillo, which inspects more than 1,000 trucks per day.
Adding to the infrastructure investments, Mexican federal leaders also announced that ProMéxico will open a representative office in Phoenix. ProMéxico is the federal government agency responsible for promoting Mexico's participation in the international economy - supporting exports and attracting foreign investment.
“With $14 billion in annual trade with Mexico, it is clear that our partners to the south are an integral part of our growth and our ability to compete in a global environment,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “It is truly exciting to hear that ProMéxico will open a representative office in Phoenix, a reflection that for Mexico, Arizona represents a market of great opportunity and a possible platform for the rest of North America.”
Progress was made on critical transportation issues during the trade mission, with Mexico reveling plans to invest in Mexico’s Route 15 highway, leading from central Mexico to the border at Nogales. The investment will smooth the transportation of goods from Mexico and its ports into the U.S. through Arizona. Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski said that a positive, long-term relationship with Mexico is yielding results for Arizona.
“Our efforts to forge strong working relations with our counterparts in Mexico have been an ongoing process over many years. That’s why we come back from this trip with tremendous results benefiting all of Arizona,” Halikowski said. “The news we bring back, including the commitment by the Ministry of Communication and Transportation of Mexico to spend more than a billion dollars over the next three years to modernize the road connecting central Mexico, including the states of Sinaloa and Sonora, to our border means they recognize the potential of our trade corridor. We are their gateway to the western United States.”
Meeting with top Mexican representatives from the chambers of industry, commerce and manufacturing for the State of Mexico created a robust relationship with the industrial leaders of the country.
“We are focused on building on our strong relationship with the states of Sonora and Sinaloa to forge strong partnerships with all the key states along the corridor from the border to Mexico City. The State of Mexico is a manufacturing giant in Mexico and through our universities and business networks, we are looking to refine our collaborative efforts and competitive advantages for the entire corridor. In turn, that allows us to compete in the global marketplace,” said Margie Emmermann, executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission and Mexico policy advisor for Governor Jan Brewer.
Additional Arizona-Mexico developments:
- Arizona will create a stakeholder group to promote rail alternatives for the movement of cargo both northbound and southbound through Nogales. The stakeholder group includes such critical entities as the Arizona Department of Transportation, Union Pacific, Ferromex, the Association of Agricultural Producers of Culiacan (Sinaloa), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Mexican ministries of Communications and Transportation, and Agriculture, and the Nogales Customs Brokers Association.
- Secured commitment by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation to support the development of a new port of entry at Douglas/Agua Prieta and the expansion of the San Luis II Port of Entry at San Luis, Arizona to permit the crossing of cars.
- Confirmed advances to the necessary improvements to the Mexican side of the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry at Nogales, Arizona. The U.S. expansion of the port of entry has been completed and will be inaugurated on Oct. 15.
“The relationships we build and strengthen through delegations such as this one to Mexico, are perhaps the most valuable. The face-to-face connection and the long-lasting friendships allow us to work with confidence that in the future we can come together to overcome obstacles and work together for the betterment of the entire region,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “The new Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico will be another ongoing opportunity for us to help strengthen our ties with Mexico to increase this important travel activity that benefits us all.”
Mexico is Arizona's largest and most important international visitor market. For nearly 20 years, AOT has had a travel-trade representative in Mexico promoting Arizona as a travel destination and encouraging cross-border visitation and overnight stays that stimulate Arizona's economy.
Mexican visitation directly contributes to Arizona's economy leading to increased tourism expenditures, job creation and tax revenue. According to AOT's Mexico Visitor Survey the agency conducted in 2007, each day, an average of 65,000 Mexican residents travel to Arizona to work, visit friends and relatives, recreate and shop. These visitors spend more than $7 million daily in Arizona's stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses contributing substantially to Arizona's export trade with Mexico.
Arizona’s new trade office builds upon the state’s current engagement in Mexico by complementing Arizona’s existing office in Hermosillo, Sonora, which is a collaboration between the ACA and the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
The Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico, located in Mexico City, is led by the ACA, in partnership with the City of Phoenix and additional funding partners including Maricopa Association of Governments, City of Tucson and Visit Phoenix. With the support of Governor Brewer and the state legislature, Arizona has made a commitment of $300,000 to the ACA to establish and manage the office, which creates a platform for businesses in both countries to expand their international trade and foreign direct investment opportunities. For more information on the services available to Arizona companies and business people, please visit www.azcommerce.com.