Global competition, trade agreements and the budding economic relationship between Arizona and Mexico were on the agenda this week at the annual conference of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. Claudia Ruiz Massieu, the Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs, discussed how she feels about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the impact of a proposed wall along the Mexico border and whether the Brexit vote in England to leave the European Union affects Mexico’s economic fortunes.
Tell us what Mexico values in its relationship with Arizona and the rest of the U.S.
Arizona is our fourth commercial partner in the United States and we are Arizona’s first trade partner. We trade almost $17 billion per year. In Arizona alone, 111,000 jobs depend on the bilateral relationship with Mexico. It is a good and trusted and valued relationship; we are always looking to expand to make the most of the comparative advantages we share and the complementary tastes we have.
Is Mexico doing anything to make it easier and safer to get goods and shoppers across the Arizona-Mexico border?
We have been working these past months and these past years with the Arizona government and business community to identify what we have to do to make the border infrastructure more efficient for the crossing and manufacturing of goods (auto parts, aerospace parts, produce) and also to ensure people who cross every day can do so more rapidly and more orderly and safer every time.
Just to give you an example of how dynamic these border crossing are, everyday more than 65,000 Mexicans cross into Arizona to shop or to have medical services. They generate a lot of movement in Arizona’s economy. They are an integral part of Arizona’s development and growth, we want to make sure those crossing are more efficient and faster.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has talked about building a wall along the Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration. How could a barrier affect the relationship between the U.S .and Mexico?
In the United States more than six million direct jobs depend on the bilateral relationship. They are so integrated that we have to keep looking for ways to increase those ties. It (a wall) will have a direct impact on the competitiveness of the United States and the volume of investment.
We should be focusing on how to make our integration better and more efficient; on how to make our border a place for common prosperity and how to make ourselves more competitive together. We should be focusing on how to build together. When we build more together we do it better. We create more opportunities, more prosperity for Mexicans and Americans.
How do you think the Brexit development will affect Mexico?
Mexico has very sound economic fundamentals. We will be ready to see how this impacts both Mexico, Great Britain and the world. It is a new world in that sense.
How has Doug Ducey’s governorship affected trade between Arizona and Mexico?
I’ve met with Gov. Ducey three or four times. We’ve found in him a very sensitive and committed partner for our relationship. He knows that the relationship between Arizona and Mexico is strategic. He knows that Arizona needs and relies on our bilateral relationship.
He knows that the work and productivity and commitment of the Mexican community in Arizona is very important for the state’s economic development and growth. He is an ally and a partner. We will keep working with him on identifying new areas of opportunity for growth in both of our countries.
By Socorro Carrillo, Cronkite News