It is a privilege to be part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ trade mission to Hermosillo and Guaymas, Sonora with about 40 elected officials and business leaders.
Many kudos to the work of Alana Chavez Landgon of MAG who has put together an aggressive agenda for the three-day visit.
MAG is really working hard to strengthen the relationship between Arizona and Sonora and the rest of Mexico. MAG’s new trade-oriented website, www.CONNECTBIEN.com, is helping to connect our shared region’s importers and exporters, and MAG’s efforts to facilitate and simplify Arizona-bound cross-border tourism are a sign of its understanding of the importance of Mexican visitors to our economy.
Usually I fly into Mexico. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in trade delegations to Mexico City and Guadalajara. For this visit, though, we took a bus, giving me the opportunity to experience the border crossing at Nogales firsthand. While fairly smooth getting in to Mexico it still could be faster. And coming back tomorrow night, it is pretty clear from seeing the northbound traffic, particularly commercial trucks – including a military checkpoint at Querobabi – that I probably should not make any Friday night family plans. More on that checkpoint in an upcoming post.
The first major event for the group was an event with CANACINTRA. CANACINTRA is a robust industry group that focuses on the manufacturers of the area. Like our Arizona Manufacturers Council, it is focused on policies and educational activities that improve the ability of the region’s manufacturers to better compete. CANACINTRA is forming a very strong relationship with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, led by the dynamic Lea Marquez Peterson, a board member of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and industry. It’s great to see these two organizations working so closely.
I had the chance to say a few words and my message was simple: From our new governor, Doug Ducey, to the mayors and elected officials in Arizona, to the business community, we are all unified to deepen the relationship with Mexico. Specifically, we are going to aggressively pursue every opportunity to increase trade and exports as well as arts, education and cultural exchanges.
I had the chance to meet with medical device manufacturers, companies manufacturing important components for Arizona mining operations, engineers and attorneys specializing in protecting intellectual property for manufacturers.
There were also discussions on the importance of advancing new free trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which in a sense updates NAFTA, as it includes our partners Canada and Mexico.
There is such an incredible sense of optimism surrounding this relationship.
More later as our group checks out more of Hermosillo and then heads to the port city of Guaymas.