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Our good neighbor should be a good business partner

Todd Sanders (Photo by Evan Wyloge)

Todd Sanders (Photo by Evan Wyloge)

“God made us neighbors. We should endeavor to be good neighbors.”

Former Arizona Governor Paul Fannin, who created the Arizona-Mexico Commission and recognized the importance of good relations and commerce with our neighbors to the south, said that in 1959.

This week, Governor Doug Ducey has been leading a delegation of Arizona business and political leaders to Mexico City to further strengthen our cross-border ties. It’s critical that we build upon the steps that we have already taken —including last fall’s opening of an Arizona trade office in the Mexican capital — for the benefit of both our economies.

The time has come for us all to move past the rhetoric and divisiveness of the past and for us to recognize, as ASU President Michael Crow said recently, that “we live in the same place.” Yes, a political border divides us, but lines on maps should not be an obstacle to prosperity. Our two nations are home to a combined 441 million people and Mexico is on track to be the fifth largest economy in the world by 2050. We have much to offer each other, and robust, mutually beneficial agreements on trade will help Arizona companies expand their reaches, customer bases and horizons.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has been very involved with helping facilitate trade with Mexico in recent years. This week’s trip there is just the latest of many I have been fortunate enough to take, along with leaders of our business community and elected officials who also recognize how vital that relationship is.

Governor Fannin was right. However, in the 21st century, we should endeavor to be more than just good neighbors with Mexico. We should also be good business partners and work together to take advantage of the great economic opportunities that lie just across that border.

– Todd Sanders is president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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