More than a dozen government and business officials from Arizona met in Mexico City last week with representatives from the economic development office of the Mexican state of Queretaro, following impressive growth in the manufacturing of cars and aviation equipment in the region throughout recent years.
“Queretaro still needs technical help from engineers and academics, the kind of brainpower Arizona has and Mexico wants,” writes The Arizona Republic. “Arizona, meanwhile, is looking to boost its international trade profile at a time when job and wage growth has sputtered.”
The three days of meetings were part of a trade mission to the Mexican capital seeking to expand opportunities, especially for small and medium-sized corporations. Other topics included economic development, infrastructure and tourism. The meetings also coincided with the formal opening of the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico.
Although no absolute agreements were reached, the meetings did rekindle an important dialogue that will be necessary to grow the $14 billion in trade dollars that are already exchanged between Arizona and Mexico each year. Also important to note, there was no mention at the meetings of any border or immigration-related tensions, which seem to have all but disappeared over the last year.
“For Arizona, the trade office opens in the midst of what has been dubbed the ‘Mexican Moment,’” writes The Arizona Republic. “The country is on the path to a stable future.”
Topics at the meetings included allowing Queretaro’s thriving aviation industry to conduct flight-testing in Arizona skies – which is part of an overall approach to helping people who reside on both sides of the border. And although some still tend to view trade with Mexico as a job killer for people in the U.S.,the reality is far different. No matter how you look at it, trade with Mexico is a better deal than China, and the close geographic and economic ties between the U.S. and Mexico naturally encourage cooperation between businesses on both sides of the border, which also leads to more jobs in both countries.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is competition between the United States and Mexico for the placement of factories, but there’s a lot of collaboration as well,” Christopher Wilson, a senior associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington told The Arizona Republic. “That’s because we don’t just trade finished goods with one another; we actually build products together.”
The numbers speak for themselves, with imports to the U.S. from Mexico containing an average of 20 percent U.S. content, compared with just 4 percent U.S. content in goods imported from China. In addition, considering that the U.S. International Trade Administration reports that about 36 percent of goods exported from Arizona in 2013 went straight to Mexico, it seems Arizona businesses have plenty of opportunities for growth.
Finally,Mexico has demonstrated a high level of economic security in recent years and has the 14th-largest economy in the world, which some expect to reach No. 5 in the next few decades. Combine this with strong annual growth, averaging nearly four percent over the last few years, and it’s easy to see why the state of Arizona is the most recent of a growing number of U.S. states and corporations to forge new partnerships with Mexico.