The gateway to a strong economy

Last week the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) hosted Gateway to Arizona, an event showcasing the vast opportunities Arizona’s border cities provide.

The Gateway to Arizona series took place in Douglas, Nogales and Yuma- all neighboring Mexico. Each event featured a community leader who moderated a panel with Governor Doug Ducey Chief of Staff Kirk Adams, President of the AMC Board of Directors Jessica Pacheco and University of Arizona Economic and Business Research Center Director Dr. George Hammond.

The presentations and panels illustrated how Arizona’s border cities are beneficial to the state overall and to its economic prosperity.

Douglas, Nogales and Yuma’s strong trade relationship with Mexico also makes them attractive places to open, expand and conduct business.


The Gateway to Arizona event in Douglas was held at the Gadsden Hotel with Mayor Robert Uribe moderating the panel.

“We all play incredible roles in the country’s economy. Not just the state, but in the entire country. We play an incredible role not just in commerce, [but also] produce, [and] relationship with Mexico- so all of those components are incredibly important in highlighting and also educating those that haven’t been to the border what major role we play,” Mayor Uribe explained.

He also explained that the city offers tax incentives for small businesses and has a robust relationship with its neighbors in Mexico, making it an attractive place for those looking for jobs or hoping to conduct business.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Douglas’ Border Port of Entry saw $770,164,442 in commodity flows in 2017.   


The Gateway to Arizona event in Nogales was held at the CMV Warehouse and Jaime Chamberlain, president of Chamberlain Distributing, Inc., moderated the panel.

“The benefits of our ports of entry and our relationship with Mexico are extremely important for people across the state,” Chamberlain explained.

Nogales has been importing and exporting fruits and vegetables with Mexico for over a century.

“Border cities are pretty much the engine that makes a tremendous amount of business flow through the state. We’ve got the cattle industry, the produce industry, the maquiladora industry here in this small community and small communities all over the state of Arizona,” Chamberlain said.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Nogales’ Border Port of Entry saw $9,377,148,175 in commodity flows in 2017.   


The Gateway to Arizona event in Yuma was held at Arizona Western College and Julie Engel, CEO and president of Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, moderated the panel.

Engel explained that Yuma is unique because “we touch four different states: the state of Sonora, the state of Baja, the state of Arizona and the state of California.”

Yuma’s proximity to Sonora and Baja impacts its success in agriculture.

“Agriculture in our overall economy is over a $3.5 billion industry and during the winter we need about 40,000 skilled laborers to harvest the lettuce and all the other leafy greens,” City of Yuma Mayor Douglas J. Nicholls said in a video presented at the event. “20,000 people come through the San Luis Port of Entry to work and support our economy. So, it’s a very unique kind of bond between the American side and the Mexican side of the port region to really help support our economy.”

U.S. Census Bureau data shows the Border Port of Entry in San Luis, located in Yuma County, saw $666,454,319 in commodity flows in 2017. In August alone, the city saw $47,356,176 in commodity flows.

Sierra Ciaramella

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