In this exclusive interview with Chamber Business News, Gov. Doug Ducey discusses his role as chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission and why Arizona’s relationship with Mexico is important to the state.
Question: Governor, what are your duties as the chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission?
Answer: My duties as the chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission are to make sure that we’ve got the right people in the room so that we can best advocate for this most valued relationship that Arizona has with our number one trading partner, Mexico. It’s a position and responsibility I embrace as governor.
Q: Why do you think the work the Arizona-Mexico Commission does is important for Arizona?
A: First, I don’t think it can be stated enough that the work the Arizona-Mexico Commission does builds relationships across the border with areas of influence across the sphere—public sector, private sector and education. I come at it, first and foremost, from a commerce perspective because Mexico is our largest trading partner. I think it’s important that we maintain that relationship, but also build on it—focusing on the things we can do together, like making sure that commerce can flow more freely across the border, what we’ve done with Unified Cargo Processing, tourism, joint law enforcement efforts and more. All of these issues are real issues for both myself and Governor Claudia Pavlovich and the Arizona-Mexico Commission has been a leadership organization for solutions.
Q: What are the top trade opportunities between Arizona and Mexico in the next few years?
A: I would begin with our trade relationship and I would start with the USMCA. I’m someone who is a huge fan of this idea. I believe in free trade and if this is how we’re going to define free and fair trade. I want to make sure that Congress gets this ratified. I think another reason that the USMCA is so important is not only do we want to protect the agricultural relationship that we have with Mexico right now along with the manufacturing relationship, but it’s really these ideas of the future. It’s what’s coming that we can’t see. We’ve seen how the economy has been transformed over the past ten years; I think it’s only going to change exponentially going forward.
Q: Why is it important for Arizona to focus on maintaining and continuously build a relationship with Mexico?
A: Arizona should continually focus on its largest opportunities and its best friends and partners. I mean, you can always do more with the relationships that you already have and that are existing. We have an incredible relationship with the nation of Mexico and an incredible relationship with Sonora, which is beginning to grow with other states in Mexico. It is one where I think Arizona is the lead advocate, the ambassador state, for what can be done when you have the leader-to-leader relationships.
Q: The Arizona-Mexico Commission is celebrating its 60th anniversary, what has been its biggest achievement in the last 60 years?
A: First, I want to say happy anniversary. It is something to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. And if I had to pick one single accomplishment, I think that would be very difficult to do. I would actually point to the totality of the relationship and how our economy is fundamentally dependent on the Sonora and Mexico economies and I believe vice versa. It shows the work ethic and the relationship that has been built by people that came long before I came into this office and it’s something that Governor Pavlovich and I both want to see outlive our administrations. We think that this type of relationship, this type of spirit and partnership and friendship that we’ve seen over the past four years is the way that it should be for the next 60 years and beyond.
Q: What is your top priority regarding our relationship with Mexico for 2019?
A: My top priority with Mexico every year is to build on the relationship. We’re seeing our economy boom here in the state of Arizona. We’re seeing our population grow at record numbers and that provides opportunity for all of our citizens, and the relationship that we have with Mexico brings jobs to the state of Arizona, it brings companies that relocate to the state of Arizona outside of our urban core. So, it’s something that’s really benefited the state of Arizona and I think if we take care of the relationship leader-to-leader, we make sure that we have the proper delegations of influencers and decision makers, we make sure we have the education exchange opportunities, that will maintain the relationship, that will help us weather whatever storm.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the Arizona-Mexico Commission?
A: I just want to say one of the things I’m most proud of as governor is what we’ve been able to do with the Arizona-Mexico Commission over the last four years. I think it’s not only been reset, it’s been refreshed and recharged for the future and I think everyone in Arizona knows what’s possible with this positive and productive relationship we have with the nation of Mexico and the state of Sonora. And I think the future has never been brighter.
This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.