Phoenix must become more innovative and increase its exports to become a leader in the global marketplace, Mayor Greg Stanton said Wednesday.
“I will not let our city fall behind,” Stanton said during his third State of the City Address. “Phoenix will double exports to Mexico in the next five years, and we will double our exports across the globe in the next 10 years.”
Stanton said that Arizona was the only state to see exports fall between 2007 and 2012.
“I’m not satisfied with where we are,” he said. “None of us can be.”
Stanton, who was to head his eighth trade mission to Mexico starting Thursday, said the city is opening its first trade office in Mexico City soon. He also said he plans to travel to Canada, Phoenix’s second-leading trade partner, in two weeks.
Phoenix, as part of the Global Cities Initiative, will host an international trade summit in May.
“We will take unprecedented steps to expand trade and build global partnerships,” he said.
Stanton said human capital and education is essential to creating an innovation-based economy, starting with making graduates from the city’s high schools better-prepared for college.
Noting that the University of Arizona Eller College of Management is moving its Valley location from Scottsdale to Phoenix, he said downtown should have 17,000 university students in five years.
Stanton also said that Phoenix will need improved infrastructure to accommodate a growing population, including plans to triple the miles of light rail in the city.
“We will expand our transit system to meet the needs of today and the next 30 years, and we will create an innovation infrastructure that allows us to compete in the 21st century,” he said.