Greater Phoenix is now responsible for 68.3 percent of the state’s exports – up from 65.4 percent in 2014 – Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay announced in a presentation to the Mayor and City Council.

Citing growing trade with Mexico, exports in the Phoenix metro area and the rest of Arizona are up sharply – more than 12 percent — while exports are declining throughout the rest of the country, Mackay said.

The progress report was delivered at the request of Mayor Greg Stanton, who set the goal to double Phoenix’s exports to Mexico by 2020 and double all exports by 2025. The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that ProMexico, the Mexican government’s global economic development agency, will open a trade office in Phoenix. Phoenix has opened a trade office in Mexico City and Stanton led nearly a dozen trade missions to Mexico since 2012. He will lead a delegation of Arizona mayors on another in October.

“Yes, it’s outside the normal realm for cities to engage in international affairs, but we had to grab the bull by the horns,” Stanton said of City of Phoenix efforts to boost exports. “We don’t have a choice, this is about our economy and creating jobs here locally. Exports will become an increasingly large part of our local economy and we need to continue our efforts full throttle.”

Mackay noted that Arizona is home to nearly 7,500 companies in the export marking creating 93,000 “traditionally pretty high-wage jobs.”

“The Mayor and this council are the ones paving the way,” Mackay told the Council.  “Not many other cities are doing this level of activity. It’s not just staff, you are on those trade missions and it’s having an impact.”

Through Stanton’s initiative and a partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, companies have been participating export readiness boot camp ExporTech since February.  Mackay reported that four of the first cohort of seven companies – Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, Dibble Engineering, Exos, Inc., Cavco Industrices– are now exploring export opportunities with Mexico.

The second cohort of ExporTech companies, which grew from seven to eight and now has a waiting list, started earlier this month.  It includes Cereus, Sun West Engineering, Inc., Movement Interactive, NeoLight, AguqSac, Old School Motorcycle Company, Prime Solutions Group and Wamore, Inc.

Stanton and the City’s Community and Economic Development Department continue to work with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, JP Morgan Chase, the Arizona Small Business Association and others to carry out the Phoenix Metro Export Plan.  The comprehensive regional export plan was the product of more than a year’s work, and it will serve as a roadmap to regional success.

“The recent announcement of the ProMexico office opening in Phoenix, and Mayor Stanton’s commitment to ensuring strategic alignment with Mexican government leaders and corporate executives, have really helped improve our trade relations in the region,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The Mayor and his economic development team have made it a priority to increase Phoenix’s export position, and the results have been incredibly encouraging.”