OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR ARIZONA SOUTHERN BORDER
By Jorge Navarro-Lucio, Ph.D.*
On June 18th, 2015, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey visited Mexico, with a delegation of business leaders and state government officials to meet with Mexico high ranking officials of President Peña Nieto´s cabinet. The Arizona Governor is aiming high; beyond regular bilateral meetings with Mexican border Governors counterparts. This is something more concrete, to achieve direct contacts and collaboration with the Mexican federal government high ranking officials in areas of trade and trade facilitation, border infrastructure, higher education and technology cooperation.
Governor Ducey is right in aiming high, Mexico as a whole is a better opportunity for Arizona in terms of trade, technology and education. In 2014, Arizona exported $8.6 billion to Mexico, and imports from Mexico goods valued at $7.4 billion.
But the potential for expanding trade between Mexico and Arizona is much larger than $16 billion dollars of bilateral trade. Other areas need to pay more attention in order to increase the flow of goods and services; like border infrastructure modernization, and staffing ports of entries with more Mexican and American border officials; and create better technology to facilitate the flow of people and goods across the border. Like what it was done in Mexico recently in reforming the Legal framework to facilitate the operation of American border officials at Mexican ports of entry in order to expedite this flow of people and goods.
In terms of economic opportunities this is the time to invest in Mexico due to several factors, not to mention the recently approval of the structural reforms in labor, energy, education, financial legal framework; that makes Mexico as the most competitive nation of the world, but other elements are worth to bear in mind such as solid macroeconomic fundamentals, political stability, low inflation, large disposable income, huge internal market, competitive exchange rate, more than a 100 thousand Mexican engineers are graduated each year, and a tremendous manufacturing platform that is globally connected with productive chains.
This makes Mexico the most appealing global market in the world for manufacturing high tech products like television sets, automobiles and sophisticated auto parts, computers, tablets, aircrafts, etc. Governor Ducey knows all these factors: in terms of economic, education and financial opportunities that exist in Mexico and he wanted to be the first one in taking advantage of all of them. Furthermore Arizona can benefit from its geographic proximity to Mexico in terms of shopping and tourism. There are more than 24 million border crossings each year, and Mexican visitors spend more than 7 million dollars a day in Arizona and throughout tourism, Mexicans support more than 160,000 Arizonan jobs.
Now is time to see if Arizona takes advantage of all these potentials and trigger the growth of the bilateral trade, commerce, science and technology cooperation, education and the financial investment in Mexico.
*Mr. Jorge Navarro-Lucio worked as a Chief of U.S./Mexico Border Affairs Office, Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC. 2005-2010.