I wanted to get a quick blog post out to update everyone on Thursday’s activities as part of Gov. Doug Ducey’s first trade mission to Mexico, our largest trading partner.
We had a great day. We’re experiencing a new day in our relationship with Mexico. The reception the governor and our delegation have received has been incredibly gracious. And we couldn’t ask for a better ambassador than Gov. Ducey. In between receiving regular updates on the latest developments in the wildfires back home, the governor has been touting Arizona’s brand with the self-assurance of an experienced CEO selling a great product.
In a forum, the governor made it plain to assembled guests of business and government leaders that Arizona is open for business and that we want to do business with Mexico. The governor touted the best of Arizona, including the newly remodeled commercial port of entry at Mariposa in Nogales.
I had the privilege of moderating a discussion with Mexican and Arizona leaders on the forefront of economic development and competitiveness. A few takeaways:
- Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson made sure everyone knew how Arizona continues to climb the national rankings. If you’re looking to grow and invest, Arizona’s a great bet.
- Swift Trucking founder and CEO Jerry Moyes gave the perspective of a true Arizona business success story. His company also has a 100 percent investment in a Mexican trucking firm, so he needs no convincing of the value and opportunity in cross-border business.
- Ricardo Dominguez from Baja California’s Aerospace Cluster talked about Mexico’s fast-growing, high-value manufacturing sector. Mexico is quickly becoming a worldwide leader in the production of aerospace equipment and medical devices and its automotive sector is booming.
- Claudia Connelly Ávila, who heads up Mexico’s industrial park trade group, left no doubt of the importance of NAFTA to Mexico’s economic growth. I am continually reminded of Mexico’s desire to break down trade barriers around the world, which unfortunately contrasts with our country’s on-again, off-again trade debates that paralyze Washington.
- Dr. Juan Pardinas, president of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness think tank, didn’t mince words: North America is the best place to do business in the world. Asia has its issues, which include the ever-growing influence of China in the region; Europe is quickly aging and is saddled with basket cases like Greece; the Middle East is embroiled in violence. North America, on the other hand, is not only the best place to do business today; it’s the best place in the future. Canada, the U.S., and Mexico are going to have lower priced energy as the Mexican energy reforms truly take hold and the country taps into the U.S. exploration expertise; and the countries are more stable, rooted in the rule of law and democratic institutions. Opening the Mexican economy, Dr. Pardinas said, is the economic equivalent of tearing down the Berlin Wall.
We also got the opportunity to take part in an MOU signing between the University of Arizona, represented by President Ann Weaver Hart, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM. We were reminded of the great byproducts of cross-border educational collaboration, which have already produced a scorpion antivenin, of incredible importance in the deserts of Arizona and Mexico.
The day ended with a visit with the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne, at the Ambassador’s residence, which presented more opportunities to interact with Mexican business and governmental leaders. Gov. Ducey’s remarks were warmly received by all as were the comments of AMC President David Farca.
M0re to come. We’ve got lots more to accomplish on this mission.