Arizona-Mexico Town Hall focused on driving cross-border trade

A much-needed electronic resource guide to assist businesses in cross border trade and foreign investment is a key goal of the upcoming third annual Arizona & Mexico Town Hall in Hermosilla, Sonora, Oct. 3-4. 

“The current guide is from 1994 and it’s in paperback. It’s a dinosaur,” said Patrick Welch, an attorney with Jennings Strouss of Phoenix, the premier sponsor of the event that is bringing civic, business and other groups together to find solutions for pressing issues surrounding trade.The governor’s office has awarded a $2,500 grant to help with the effort. 

Town Hall participants will make a list for the “one-stop-shopping” guide to include resources for topics like legal issues, cross border accounting, customers and clearance issues, and trade lobbyists, Welch said. 

Civic and business leaders to tackle trade issues  

Other trade topics to be tackled at the Town Hall include real property, banking and financing, tax regimes and incentives, intellectual property, import and export regulations, labor and employment, socially responsible development initiatives, and more.

Keynote speaker is Elia Tello, Consul General of the U.S. for Hermosillo, Sonora, who will talk during a lunchtime “fireside chat,” Friday, Oct. 4.

Updated free trade deal another key topic at the event 

Another outdated document, NAFTA, also created in 1994, will be a main topic of discussion. 

Members will discuss a new free trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, that is designed to bring free trade into the modern era. The USMCA adds new provisions and chapters on issues like digital trade, intellectual property, cybertheft, environmental protection, and labor requirements. 

The Town Hall provides an opportunity for Arizonans and Sonorans to voice support for  the USMCA and examine ways to improve bi-lateral trade and investment between the two states, said Juan Ciscomani, senior advisor for regional and international affairs for the office of Gov. Doug Ducey.

“This event comes at a time when international trade is at the forefront of discussions. The time is now to secure Arizona’s economic future through the USMCA, and it’s work that happens at events like this that propels Arizona’s trade forward,” Ciscomani said.  

Mexico is Arizona’s – and now the nation’s – top trading partner. U.S. goods and services traded with Mexico totaled an estimated $671.0 billion last year, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. 

Jorge Mendoza Yescas, consul general, Mexico, Phoenix, is also a scheduled speaker at the Town Hall. Other speakers and panelists include: Luis Morfin, director of Metrix S.C.; Gerardo Vázquez, president, INDEX Sonora; Hector Placencia, director and co-founder, BRH2 Plasticos S. de R.L. de C.V.; Sabina Aaronson, vice president, National Bank of Arizona; Claudia Orduno Kirkpatrick, finance director, Mexico, Badger Meter; Marisol Vindiola, director, Mexico Initiatives; and Linda Elliott-Nelson, vice president of Visit Tucson. 

To register, go to: Arizona-Mexico Town Hall Registration. For more information about the event in Spanish, go to: Ayuntamiento de Arizona y México.

Victoria Harker

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