Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

Sonora and Arizona Governors Ramping Up Trade in Spite of Trump’s Anti-NAFTA Rhetoric

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

The same day that Donald Trump announced the withdrawal from the Paris accord, rejecting U.S. leadership in the fight against human-caused climate change, the governors of Arizona and Sonora got together to strengthen ties and reject Trump’s other anti-globalization message: that the international trade agreement called NAFTA must be eliminated.

Trade officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich gathered at the Arizona-Mexico Commission 2017 Summit. The event, held on June 1 and 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona, broke attendance records.

Why are a Republican and a “Priista” prioritizing free trade between their two states? Because the agreement has created a mega-region of goods and services trade that brings immense opportunities for growth.

Watch this video about the mega-region Arizona-Sonora.

According to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, Arizona’s exports to Mexico last year totaled $8.32 billion, and imports came in at $7.45 billion, creating jobs on both sides of the border.

There are other impressive statistics, according to the Wilson Center:

In 2014, trade with Mexico supported 89,400 U.S. jobs.

Mexico is the largest export market for Arizona (2015).

Since 1993, Arizona’s exports to Mexico have increased 376 percent.

Mexican investments directly support more than 8,800 jobs in Arizona.

It’s not only goods (finished and unfinished products) that are crossing the border. In recent years, the exchange of services between the two countries has also increased.

Despite Trump’s earlier statements that NAFTA “has been a catastrophe for the country,” Governors Pavlovich and Ducey reiterated their commitment to strengthen trade. “You can’t say goodbye to something that has given benefits for both countries, and also to Canada,” said Governor Pavlovich.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake launched an initiative during the summit called NAFTA4AZ, which encourages business owners to submit stories about the positive impacts of trade with Mexico and Canada to share with the White House.

Also at the summit, representatives from other sectors such education, real state, and energy shared their views and championed projects to further collaboration.

Read more about Arizona-Sonora megaregion and collaboration here.