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AMC Media Advisory
For Immediate Release: April 28, 2017
Media contact: Ruth Soberanes
rsoberanes@az.gov  -or-  602-323-4784

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Arizona-Mexico Commission, together with sister organization Comisión Sonora-Arizona, hosted the Arizona and Sonora Border Mayors Forum today. Local leaders from cities located along the 300 mile Arizona-Mexico border gathered in Phoenix to discuss and identify synergies in their work supporting security and economic development in Arizona and Sonora.

“Through the work of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Governor Ducey convened border mayors to encourage cooperation in strengthening Arizona’s commercial ties with our Sonoran neighbors,” said Juan Ciscomani, Governor Ducey’s Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs. “This meeting is another example of the Governor’s leadership and focus on this important relationship,” added Ciscomani.

The stakeholders heard updates from our state and federal leaders on border community enforcement initiatives and border infrastructure development opportunities, among others, including Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson, Sonoran Secretary of the Economy Jorge Vidal, Arizona Office of Tourism Director Debbie Johnson, Sonora State office of Tourism Interim Director Hector Platt, and Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski. Additionally, four Consul Generals representing the United States and Mexico in the region joined the discussion.

“We had a rich discussion on trade, tourism, and economic development efforts in Arizona and Sonora,” said Yamilett Martinez, Executive Director, Comisión Sonora-Arizona. “Our goal is to strengthen our partnership and learn how to be better ambassadors for our region.”

In 2016, for the first time Arizona’s six ports of entry processed more than 400,000 northbound trucks in one year. Additionally, the ports of entry processed nearly 50 million people in two-way traffic. The average daily dollars spent in Arizona by Mexican companies and consumers is $7.5MM. According to the University of Arizona, 70% of Arizona border cities’ tax revenue is directly attributable to the Mexican visitor.

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PHOENIX, Ariz. – La Comisión Arizona- México, conjuntamente con su organización hermana la Comisión Sonora-Arizona, organizaron hoy un foro de alcaldes fronterizos de Arizona y Sonora. Líderes locales de las ciudades ubicadas a lo largo de las 300 millas (más de 450 kilometros) de la frontera Arizona-México se reunieron en Phoenix para dialogar e identificar oportunidades de sinergia en sus esfuerzos impulsando la seguridad y el desarrollo económico en Arizona y Sonora.

“A través de los esfuerzos de la Comisión Arizona-México, el Gobernador Ducey convocó a alcaldes fronterizos para crecer la cooperación entre Arizona y nuestros vecinos en Sonora y fortalecer nuestros lazos comerciales,” dijo Juan Ciscomani, Consejero Principal de Asuntos Regionales e Internacionales de la Oficina del Gobernador Ducey. “Esta reunión es otro ejemplo del liderazgo del Gobernador y su atención a esta relación tan estrecha e importante,” sumo Ciscomani.

Los participantes recibieron información actualizada de líderes estatales y federales sobre las iniciativas de seguridad de comunidades fronterizas y las oportunidades del desarrollo de infraestructura fronteriza, entre otras, incluyendo a la Directora General de la Autoridad de Comercio de Arizona Sandra Watson, el Secretario de Economía de Sonora Jorge Vidal, la Directora de la Oficina de Turismo de Arizona Debbie Johnson, el Secretario de Turismo Interino de Sonora Héctor Platt y el Director del Departamento de Transporte de Arizona John Halikowski. Adicionalmente, cuatro Cónsules Generales de Estados Unidos y México se incorporaron a la discusión.

“Tuvimos un dialogo provechoso acerca del comercio, turismo y desarrollo económico en ambos estados, Arizona y Sonora,” dijo Yamilett Martínez, Directora de la Comisión Sonora-Arizona. “Nuestra meta es fortalecer nuestra alianza y aprender cómo ser mejores representantes de nuestra región.”

En 2016, por primera vez en la historia, los puertos de entrada de Arizona procesaron más de 400,000 camiones de carga en ruta norte en un año. Adicionalmente, los puertos de entrada procesaron cerca de 50 millones de personas en ruta norte y sur. El gasto diario promedio de compañías y consumidores mexicanos en Arizona es de $7.5 millones de dólares.  En referencia de la Universidad de Arizona, cerca del 70% de los ingresos de impuestos en las ciudades fronterizas de Arizona, proviene de los visitantes mexicanos.

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AMC Media Advisory
For Immediate Release: February 13, 2016
Media contact: Ruth Soberanes
rsoberanes@az.gov -or- 602-542-1287

PHOENIX, Ariz. –Arizona and Sinaloa have entered into an agreement to explore mutual areas of interest and opportunities in economic development, trade, and tourism. Jessica Pacheco, President of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) and Jose Mario Cadena, President of the Economic Development Council of the State of Sinaloa (or “CODESIN” for its initials in Spanish) today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in Phoenix.

“This is what the AMC is all about- developing closer relations with Mexico in order to facilitate cross-border trade, attract new investment and promote job creation for the benefit of all Arizonans,” said Jessica Pacheco. “I am excited about the opportunities and what they can mean for both states.”

The intent is to establish working groups in the areas of economic development, tourism, agribusiness, and corridor infrastructure development.

“Governor Quirino Ordaz of Sinaloa, much like Governor Ducey, has a strong entrepreneurial spirit.  He is eager to see things happen and the sooner the better,” stated Jose Mario Cadena, President of the Economic Development Council of the State of Sinaloa. “Our states have been growing together for many years if not generations. This agreement helps us provide the structure to move forward,” added Cadena.

The State of Arizona and the State of Sinaloa share a long history of commerce, trade, tourism and cultural ties. This agreement presents an opportunity for both states to grow the existing trade, commerce and tourism that already exists. For example, the fresh produce industry has created deep connections between Arizona and Sinaloa. Approximately $1 billion dollars of produce from Sinaloa crosses through Arizona Ports of Entry each year on their way to market.

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AMC Media Advisory
For Immediate Release: April 20, 2017
Media contact: Ruth Soberanes
rsoberanes@az.gov  -or-  602-323-4784

PHOENIX, Ariz. –Arizona and Baja California have entered into an agreement to grow the trade and commercial relationship between both states. Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (“ACA”) and Carlo Humberto Bonfante, Secretary for Economic Development of Baja California (“SEDECO”) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to contribute to the strengthening of the cross-border supply chain in key industry sectors and medical tourism between the two neighboring states.

“As Arizona continues to strengthen and grow our relationships throughout Mexico, we look forward to working collaboratively with Baja California to identify opportunities on both sides of the border,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “I was proud to sign an agreement with Secretary Bonfante, signifying our commitment to exploring these opportunities and advancing the relationship between our two states.”

“On behalf of the Baja California State Government, I would like to express our excitement about the new opportunities that we are building together and that will be beneficial for both of our states,” said Secretary Bonfante. “With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Arizona Commerce Authority and Secretariat of Economic Development of Baja California, we are laying a strong foundation for a broader binational collaboration,” added Secretary Bonfante.

This agreement presents an opportunity for both states to grow the commerce that already exists. “Baja California companies like La Moderna look to Arizona to purchase durhum wheat that is used for making pasta in Mexicali that is then shipped all over the world.  This is a perfect example of the ways in which we can work together.  It translates into jobs, investment and long-term growth,” stated Jessica Pacheco, President of the Board of Directors of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. The states will work to jointly explore supply chain diversification and find mutual opportunities for economic development and growth between Arizona and Baja California.

Arizona and Baja California share a common border and the distance of the state capitals of the State of Arizona and the State of Baja California is a mere 241 miles (388 kilometers). Both states are proven leaders in a number of industry sectors, including aerospace, medical devices, health care technology, advanced manufacturing, tourism, and mining, among others.

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Boots on the Border:  Good for the Border

Earlier this month, Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, along with Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Boots on the Border Act.  This legislation is designed to remove the onerous, and at times duplicative, polygraph testing that is currently imposed on applicants that are veterans, military service members and members of other law enforcement entities that are applying for positions with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP has not been able to fill 1,100 positions that were funded in the 2014 budget because the overly burdensome polygraph process is eliminating many veterans and current military personnel that are considering a career protecting our nation and our borders.  CBP is reporting that the Tucson sector alone has over 21% of its fulltime positions unfilled.  This condition is perpetuated by the extremely low ratio of job applicants to actual hires at CBP.

Arizona and its federal partners, CBP and the General Services Administration have invested over $400 million in port of entry infrastructure over the last 8 years but there is simply not enough staff to open-up every lane that is available.  Port Directors have to play a constant game of taking from one to open up another in order to minimize the impacts to our ports of entry and to our border communities.  Officers are forced to work extensive amounts of overtime and at times max out and cannot work anymore overtime.  CBP needs to have the necessary staff to ensure the security of our nation along with facilitating trade and tourism that are critical to the Arizona and national economy.

Arizona’s border communities report that at least 70% of the sales tax generated in each community is directly attributable to the Mexican visitor and shopper.  But if visitors have long delays to cross the border then they simply will not come to our stores and our restaurants.  Additionally, Arizona’s trade relationship with Mexico totals over $15 billion in imports and exports and without efficient ports of entry we cannot maximize the opportunities that exist for Arizona companies.

CBP has made great efforts to streamline the recruiting process but they still have a long way to go.  The Boots on the Border Act offers a new tool and a tremendous opportunity for Customs and Border Protection to recruit and hire some of the most qualified individuals our nation has to offer.  We urge the entire Arizona Congressional delegation to support this legislation.

Signed
The Honorable Gerardo Sanchez, Mayor, City of San Luis
The Honorable Doug Nicholls, Mayor, City of Yuma
The Honorable John Doyle, Mayor, City of Nogales
The Honorable Robert Uribe, Mayor, City of Douglas
John S. Halikowski, Chairman, Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance
Jessica Pacheco, President, Arizona-Mexico Commission
Guillermo Valencia, Chairman, Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority
The Honorable Matias Rosales, Chairman, Greater Yuma Port Authority
Carlos Fernandez, Chairman, Douglas International Port Authority
Patrick Scherden, Chairman, Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation
Gonzalo Avila, Chairman, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

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For Immediate Release:  February 17, 2017
Media contact: Ruth Soberanes
rsoberanes@az.gov -or- (602) 542-1287

PHOENIX — Businesses in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties have a new opportunity to gain attention for their export efforts. Businesses that export are encouraged to apply for the new Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program, which opens today. The program seeks to raise awareness about the importance of exports in the region’s economy and to connect businesses with resources that can help them increase and improve their bottom line through exporting.Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton identified the focus on exporting and has worked with other regional planning agencies and economic development agencies to develop the new program.

“Exports, especially to Mexico, support 100,000 jobs in Arizona, but that number should really be a lot higher,” said Mayor Greg Stanton, who chairs the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council and serves as vice chair of the MAG Economic Development Committee. “We want to help businesses looking to increase profits and create more stable, higher-paying jobs. We know that opening new markets in other countries leads to increased revenue and provides more resilient, higher-end employment here at home.”

Any exporting business—whether emerging, proficient, or expert—can apply by visiting www.jpacaz.org. An evaluation team will assess each business in four categories, including Overall Export Achievement (one business recognized from each of the three counties). Additional categories exist for Veteran, minority, or woman owned businesses. All applicants will be introduced to programs in the community that can increase their exporting. The top scoring businesses from each of the three counties will be recognized at the Sun Corridor EDGE (Economic Development for the Global Economy) event on May 19, 2017. The public is invited to attend the event and hear from the top scoring businesses, speakers on international trade, and videos featuring the top scoring businesses.

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is one of the 15 partners for the program. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power are located outside of the United States,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO. “Despite potential exporting offers, only one percent of U.S. businesses export. This is a missed opportunity not only for Arizona businesses, but business across the country, because tapping into these markets helps both business and the economy. It’s a win-win.”

Other program partners include Central Arizona Governments, Arizona District Export Council, East Valley Partnership, Global Chamber Phoenix and Global Chamber Tucson, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Maricopa Association of Governments, Metro Phoenix Export Alliance, Partnership for Economic Innovation, Pima Association of Governments, Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization, Sun Corridor Inc., U.S. Commercial Service, and Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC).

Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on March 17, 2017. Registration for the EDGE event will be available soon at www.jpacaz.org. The event is hosted by the Joint Planning Advisory Council. The council comprises elected officials and business leaders with the purpose of strengthening the coordination and economies of the Sun Corridor.

For more information, please visit www.jpacaz.org or contact the Maricopa Association of Governments at (602) 254-6300.

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