Consider the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which is more commonly known simply as NAFTA. Mexico ratified the new deal a few weeks ago while leaders in Canada and the United States still haven’t made a move.
The trade pact is a big deal indeed. But some of us already recognize we have a solid partner in our neighbors to the south. There’s no need to take a vote or endorse a document in order to reach that conclusion. That’s why I was part of a trade mission sponsored by the city of Phoenix that by coincidence was in Mexico City when that country’s Senate overwhelmingly approved the trilateral trade proposal.
Led by Hank Marshall, economic development executive officer for Phoenix, the delegation was comprised of leaders who understand the importance of neighbors helping neighbors. For two days, we brainstormed with officials and executives based in Mexico City who spoke of challenges their city and nation face, as well as the related opportunities.
A pressing matter addressed was Mexico’s running out of water as its aquifers are being depleted. Attending the meetings was water expert Luis Marin Stillman, CEO of Grupo HA. With few trained hydrologists in the country, Stillman offered to introduce José Andrés García, Phoenix’s trade representative in Mexico City, to graduate students from Arizona universities working in the Mexican capital to see what opportunities for collaboration on water projects are possible.
Our group also met Malkah Nobigrot, director of economic development for the Mexico City Ministry of Economic Development, who noted that city officials are rethinking their approach to transportation, including introducing incentives for using hybrids and electric vehicles. I suggested a way to help explore new ideas is for Mexican companies to attend the Arizona Technology Council’s 2019 Smart Cities and Internet of Things Conference. She also commended Phoenix for having a physical presence in Mexico City with its trade office and García as the go-to person representing the city, saying it makes all the difference in furthering commercial connections.
I would add to that it’s all part of what we should do with our neighbors, whether they are next door or separated by a single border. Listen to what they need and help where you can. As President Harry S. Truman said, “All will concede that in order to have good neighbors, we must also be good neighbors.”
To read the article published in the Phoenix Business Journal in its entirety, visit here.