Arizona and Sonora remain committed to making our MegaRegion a model for cooperation between states.
I returned late last week from an Arizona-Mexico Commission delegation trip to Hermosillo. The delegation was led by Jessica Pacheco, the first female president of the organization in its history. Talk about a fast start – Pacheco led the mission in just her first week in the position.
The trip was inspirational and productive. Pacheco firmly stressed the importance of the relationship – a friendship – and solicited suggestions on topics for the upcoming AMC Plenary in Scottsdale this spring.
She stressed that we have a model partnership, and that we need to stay focused on what’s working.
There obviously is some uncertainty to what federal policies on trade will look like. But that uncertainty is not slowing down the partnership between Arizona and Sonora.
The areas of cooperation in the megaregion include auto manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture, education and mining.
Consider that the relationship between Governor Ducey and Governor Pavlovich is considered the model for a bi-national relationship. The two governors meet on a regular basis and we are all enjoining the benefits and as a region becoming more competitive.
The recent example of Lucid Motors is a textbook example. A state-of-the art electric vehicle manufacturing facility will be located in Arizona in part because of the highly integrated auto supply chain that exists between Sonora and Arizona.
Another example is the joint work of the region to market tourism to Asian markets.
And our state universities and community colleges have forged partnerships that will help Arizona meet its Achieve60AZ goals.
We’re all looking for win-wins. Think of cotton. Arizona cotton is used to make blue jeans manufactured in Mexico that return to us in that useful form.
But both Arizona cotton growers and Mexico denim jean makers would be losers if tariffs were imposed on the finished products bound for U.S. stores.
We met with leaders from the business and political community in Sonora, including the head of the equivalent of the chamber of commerce (COPARMEX) and the Governor’s chief of staff and the Sonoran Secretary of the Economy. We also visited with a deputy cabinet energy minister.
It can’t be said enough that Mexico is far and away Arizona’s largest trading partner, and is home to 40 percent of our exports. In addition to the model relationship of the two governors, Arizona is proudly home to Senators McCain and Flake, arguably the two most pro-NAFTA members of the U.S. Congress.
We ended the 18-hour trip Thursday morning with the executive director of the AMC, Marcos Garay, presenting alongside Yamilett Martinez Briseño, director Comisión Sonora-Arizona at a major business assembly, the Cumbre Sonora 2017, on the benefits of the MegaRegion. The business people in the crowd listened positively and intently to this vision.
Our two states have good, ambitious leaders ready to do more to increase prosperity on both sides of the border.
In my opinion, tinkering with NAFTA is like hitting in Blackjack with a 19. But since this is likely to happen, let’s make sure that our efforts get us to 21.