I was honored to be part of a delegation of nearly 70 Arizona business and political leaders who visited Mexico City and Guanajuato during what could turn out to be a transformational time in the history of the Arizona-Mexico relationship, to continue to strengthen our economic bonds with Mexico, our No. 1 trading partner.
As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is being renegotiated, it is a critical time for the voice of the Arizona business community to be heard by both Arizona public officials and their counterparts across the border. I applaud Representatives Tony Rivero, R-Peoria, and Rosanna Gabaldón, D-Green Valley, for leading this historic bipartisan trade delegation, as well as House Speaker J.D. Mesnard for placing the full support of the Arizona House of Representatives behind this effort.
The sheer size of the delegation – estimated by some to be the largest trade mission ever from Arizona to Mexico, and likely one of the largest ever in the nation – highlights the importance placed on continuing to foster this relationship, which works for both sides of the border and was worth more than $8 billion (about 30 percent) in exports last year.
We spent five days in Mexico meeting with federal leaders in Mexico City before heading to the state of Guanajuato for meetings with its legislature and governor. The trip saw legislators and business leaders encourage our federal officials to work cooperatively to expand NAFTA and make it more beneficial to those involved, while also building a foundation for the future.
What really made an impression on me on this trip was the sheer number of people and organizations who made it a priority to send a representative.
When you combine the support of elected officials with top leaders from organizations including Chicanos por la Causa; Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Global Chamber; Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; University of Arizona; Arizona State University and the Morrison Institute; Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs chair Jaime A. Molera of Molera Alvarez; former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman; business leader Jason Levecke; as well as Rocky Point Mayor Kiko Munro and Vice-Chairman Verlon Jose of the Tohono O’odham Nation, it shows that sustaining and growing this relationship is a very well-placed and broadly supported priority.
Trade with Mexico is a vital piece in growing our economy and brings with it employment for tens of thousands. As leaders focused on doing what’s best for Arizona businesses, we will continue to advocate for regular trade delegations to Mexico to foster constructive relationships and enhance pro-growth policies.
— Mike Huckins is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.