“What do I need? Moreover, how can I find it?”
These are just a couple of the questions asked about resources that incentivize and support cross-border trade and investment between the United States and Mexico — in particular, the states of Arizona and Sonora — during the third annual Arizona & Mexico Town Hall hosted Oct. 4 at the Hotel Lucerna in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
At least 50 Arizonans and Sonorans attended the roundtable discussions and were tasked with exploring the landscape of cross-border resources available in the marketplace. The attendees were asked what could be done to create a digital guide, or “one-stop shop,” that can make such resources more readily available to a broader group of individuals and companies interested in creating new business or expanding existing business.
The Arizona Town Hall has now been hosting the Arizona & Mexico Town Hall in Hermosillo since 2017, with the financial support of its premier sponsor — Jennings, Strouss & Salmon — and other key partners, including Salt River Project, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Visit Tucson, CANACO, The Nelson Family Trust and RL Jones. The Arizona Town Hall’s commitment to the Arizona-Mexico relationship is in direct response to a recommendation from the statewide 108th Arizona Town Hall on Arizona and Mexico it hosted in Tucson in 2016. That should come as no surprise, given the economic importance of the relationship to Arizona’s economy.
In 2019, Mexico catapulted itself up the rankings and is now America’s top trading partner, in large part due to American and Mexican companies capitalizing on the existing trade dispute tempering trade relations between the U.S. and China.
Trade between the U.S. and Mexico totaled $671 billion in 2018. As of August 2019, total trade between the two countries reached $414 billion.
As border states, Arizona and Sonora are geographically positioned to capture a large percentage of the economic benefits of this robust relationship.
Statistics don’t lie: According to the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, exports from Arizona to Mexico during the second quarter of 2019 totaled $2.1 billion (up 13.6 percent from Q2 of 2018), and total U.S. trade with Mexico via Arizona’s border ports of entry totaled $8.2 billion during Q2 of 2019 (up 14.2 percent from Q2 of 2018).
I am very proud of the contributions that the Arizona Town Hall has made to support ongoing cooperation between Arizona and Mexico over the last three years. The participants at the 2019 Arizona & Mexico Town Hall vigorously engaged in panel discussions focused on available cross-border trade, investment and business attraction resources aimed at driving economic development in the Arizona and Sonora region and the result was a list of key recommendations that I believe will help drive cross-border trade and investment between Arizona and Mexico.
Another strategic recommendation that resonated from the Arizona & Mexico Town Hall was the creation of a private advisory council composed of professionals in Arizona and Mexico who are engaged in cross-border trade and investment that would provide businesses interested in or engaged in cross-border trade and investment with critical information about such topics as: business organizations; banking, credit, or private equity; cross-border tax accounting; real property; and intellectual property, among others. Attendees envisioned that the advisory council could serve as a networking group that helps engage and mentor businesses and could disseminate highly important information to those involved in cross-border initiatives.
The plan is for the Legal Financial Services Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, along with colleagues at the Comisión Sonora-Arizona, to take the recommendations from the 2019 Arizona & Mexico Town Hall and evaluate how best to implement them into a cross-border digital guide or “one-stop shop.”
The proposed advisory council may likely be the conduit that ultimately helps bring the collective goal of the Arizona Town Hall and the Arizona-Mexico Commission to fruition.
“Arizona and Mexico must do everything possible to maintain and strengthen relationships with each other,” said Tara L. Jackson, president of Arizona Town Hall. “The Arizona & Mexico Town Hall is one way to effectively achieve that goal, and I hope that the recommendations from the 2019 Arizona & Mexico Town Hall are the springboard for further action.”
To see the 2019 Arizona & Mexico Town Hall report on the Arizona Town Hall website, click here.
Patrick Welch is a member of Jennings Strouss Law Firm, where he practices commercial litigation, construction litigation and fidelity and surety litigation. He is a delegate on the Financial and Legal Services Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, actively involved with promotion of U.S.-Mexico cross-border trade with assistance from his extensive familiar and professional network in Mexico.
Header photo by Alvaro Dioni.