Our Arizona State Legislators led a historic trade delegation last week to Mexico City and Guanajuato that I was honored to attend. With over 80 attendees including 26 Arizona State Legislators (in which 18 were Republican), we learned that our delegation was the largest U.S state delegation to Mexico City. It was ironic that it was the same day that President Trump landed in Phoenix. It was also meaningful in that it was about six years since the passing of SB1070. Since that time, Arizona's relationship with Mexico, our largest trading partner has grown immensely.
Instead of harboring the misperception that trade with Mexico creates job loss, our delegation discussed furthering collaboration and the potential 100,000 jobs that would be lost in Arizona if NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) were to be eliminated. In fact, over 5 million jobs in the United States are directly related to trade with Mexico. Our delegation of 26 Arizona State Legislators included our Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader and was led by the Chairman of our International and Local Committee, Tony Rivero. We met with the Governors of Mexico City and Guanajuato and business leaders from the Citizens Council and the Inland Port. Media from both the U.S and Mexico did not miss the importance and magnitude of such a large Arizona delegation amid our nation's political debate surrounding trade with Mexico and Canada.
My participation on the trade mission allowed me the opportunity to describe the work of our Tucson Hispanic Chamber in assisting Arizona and Mexican businesses throughout our region. At our chamber, we work closely with Mexican businesses that are interested in doing business in the U.S. We also advise and assist Arizonan businesses with connections and resources for doing business in Mexico. We have also opened the first-of-its-kind International Welcome Center in Nogales, Arizona to further this mission. I was honored to present on the "Importance of Arizona - Mexico trade" to a joint state legislative meeting in Guanajuato. Legislators also spoke about Heath Care, Education and Infrastructure to educate the other attendees on opportunities for collaboration.
As a state, Arizona is at the forefront of leading the national dialogue on the importance of trade. Our Arizona Governor Ducey recently spoke about trade and Mexican relations at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island. In addition, his leadership with Sonoran Governor Pavlovitch in promoting an Arizona Sonora Mega Region as well as Arizona Senator Flake’s focus on improving NAFTA has lifted Arizona from a negative public image in Mexico left by past bills in recent years to one that is inspired by global economic development. Thank you to our Arizona State Legislators for promoting this message and traveling to Mexico City at this historic time to present a message of collaboration with northern Mexico to federal leaders.
Lea Marquez Peterson is the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber. For more information, visit www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org.
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