PHOENIX – How Arizona can increase its trade with Mexico was the topic of discuss Thursday at the State Capitol where a group of researchers, community leaders and other stakeholders gathered for a meeting on the issue.
The panel of five met in a conference room of the Executive Tower to mull over ways in which Arizona can become more competitive for Mexico’s business.
“(The United States) has over a half trillion dollars of bi-lateral trade with Mexico every year,” said Erik Lee with the North American Research Partnership, one member of the panel discussion. “Arizona’s cut of that is not particularly large when compared with Texas and California.”
There are a multitude of reasons as to why Arizona lags behind Texas and California in dollar per dollar trade with Mexico and in size and population alone Arizona is vastly different that the two states; however, Lee said Arizona can still take steps to increase its cut of the revenue.
Lee said first Arizona needs to continue to have a presence in Mexico.
“The state and the City of Phoenix have offices there and we need to maintain those,” he said.
Maintaining its office space and increasing its footprint in the country is important in increasing Arizona’s visibility and links to businesses in Mexico, but Lee said it is also important in continuing to recover from Arizona’s less-than-favorable reputation in the nation following controversial policies toward immigration.
Lee said Arizona also needs to improve its infrastructure if it wants to draw more trade between it and Mexico.
A recent upgrade to the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry is a good example of upgrades the state should be making, Lee said, while simultaneously adding new infrastructure to further lure business here.
“We need to keep working on things like connector roads, upgrading the other ports of entry and getting the word in Mexico to shipping companies that these are ports of entry that are convenient and user friendly,” he said.