Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dispatch from Mexico: Delegation Talks Trade

Glenn Hamer is in Mexico City this week as part of a bipartisan delegation led by Speaker of the House Andy Tobin. Glenn will be blogging from the trip, offering us a look at what the delegation is learning on this historic visit by a legislative delegation to Mexico City.

The bipartisan Arizona House delegation led by Speaker Andy Tobin last night in Mexico City met with two federal Mexican senators, Marcela Guerra of the PRI and Ernesto Ruffo of the PAN,  as well as the secretary of Economic Development of Mexico City, Salomón Chertorivski. Each of the Mexican officials offered comments and the speaker and his staff provided an overview of the Arizona economy, as well as details of the two once-in-a-generation jobs bills that passed during the past three years.

The consensus that emerged from the discussion is that it is desirable for both Arizona and Mexico to find any and all ways to increase our trade.

Mexico is already Arizona’s largest trading partner, accounting for about one-third or $6 billion of our $18 billion in exports. Yet, there is a feeling we can do more. By contrast, Texas in 2012 exported $94.5 billion to Mexico while even a non-border state like Illinois exports $6.4 billion.

There was also a discussion on the need to improve customs and ports of entry on both sides of our shared border. Clogged arteries of trade cost wealth, not to mention have a negative effect on the environment, with idling vehicles belching exhaust sometimes hours on end. When the U.S. House takes up immigration reform, it needs to look to be more aggressive in putting resources into our port operations as opposed to a full doubling of the Border Patrol.

Glenn Hamer with Nuevo León Senator Marcela Guerra

Mexico City’s economic development secretary provided some interesting facts on his city, one of the largest by population centers in the world. About nine million people live in Mexico City, but the city swells to about 23 million during the work day, about four times the entire population of Arizona! The city has a thriving financial services sector, and the per-capita income in the capital city is about twice that of the rest of Mexico.

The conversation was warm and a great start to this historic legislative delegation visit. With Arizona's budget in balance and nation-leading efforts to improve our competitiveness, we should all be ambassadors throughout the U.S. and around the world to sell what is now one of the most competitive places to do business in the country.

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