Arizona Border Communities Roadmap Released
Document outlines five game changers and a five-pronged response for border economies
PHOENIX – Governor Janice K. Brewer, together with four state agencies and several southern Arizona border communities, announces the release of the Border Communities Roadmap.
Announcing the Roadmap’s release, Governor Brewer said, “Expanding the capacity of our commercial ports of entry, strengthening our trade corridors, and developing a focused trade and transportation strategy for Arizona will foster job creation and attract new business and investment that will benefit the entire state.”
The Border Communities Roadmap is an initiative of Governor Brewer that examined and developed a strategic action plan with economic development priorities and policy direction to foster economic prosperity for Arizona’s border communities. The Roadmap process involved a collaborative effort between the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation, and Arizona Office of Tourism working closely with the communities of Douglas, Nogales, San Luis, Somerton, and Yuma.
As gateways, the Arizona border communities enable the flow of billions of dollars of trade and millions of cross-border travelers each year.
“Focusing on border communities’ assets and positioning them as a region will allow them to build stronger economies and compete with communities in Texas and California, thus capturing and growing Arizona’s share of cross-border trade and investment,” says Margie Emmermann, Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
Five game-changers or significant shifts that are catalysts for new opportunities are presented:
- Build upon Arizona border community assets
- Form new strategic alliances
- Harness Mexican economic shifts
- Leverage key commercial corridors for market connectivity
- Support emerging business development opportunities
The document discusses each of the game-changers in depth and presents a five-pronged action response for border communities:
- Build a border business case. Arizona’s strategic position to Mexico’s growing economy is a major economic asset for each border community. Understanding the bi-national economy and communicating a strong business case is imperative for Arizona’s border communities to be successful.
- Enhance border economic viability. The Roadmap discusses building on community assets, developing the labor force needed to meet industry demand, and focusing on business sectors that align with the economic vision.
- Improve border community image. Marketing and communicating about the economic opportunity of Arizona’s border communities can help change the dialogue from its current focus on security to strategic positioning of the region for business development.
- Strengthen relationships and foster collaborations. A concerted and coordinated public/private relationship-building effort must occur at every level – local, regional, state, and national. The Roadmap calls for the establishment of a “Border Brain Trust” – state agencies in partnership with the border communities – to move the strategic action plan forward.
- Focus on border infrastructure that links border communities to key commerce corridors and promotes global connectivity. Enhancing competitiveness and sustainable economic growth requires an efficient multi-modal transportation system and adequate infrastructure to meet current and projected demand.
The Border Communities Roadmap can be downloaded from the website http://www.azmc.org/border-roadmap or for more information about the project contact Chris Stoller at 602-542-1287.
Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance strategic road map nears completion
Steering Committee focuses on job growth, trade, economic development
PHOENIX — A yearlong effort to establish the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance strategic road map is entering the final phase, as key leaders met in Phoenix on Nov. 26 to talk about the finishing touches and the goal to finalize the road map by early 2014.
The final TTCA Steering Committee meeting of 2013 brought together leaders from Arizona’s transportation, trade and commerce industries, along with international entities. This past year, the committee has been working on developing a robust business and transportation plan for Arizona that will be laid out in a road map outlining the statewide vision.
“Remember what we are doing here — tying together economic development and transportation in order to promote trade and investment,” said John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. “If it was easy, everyone in the world would be doing it well. But it isn’t easy, and we are trying to lead the way in Arizona with a new way of thinking.”
Halikowski co-chairs the TTCA Steering Committee with former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. TTCA leadership also includes Margie Emmermann, executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission; Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority; and Michael Hunter, director of policy and the special advisor on tax policy and reform for the Office of Governor Jan Brewer. Other leaders from the transportation and business communities head up the five TTCA subcommittees: Freight; Trade and Economic Development; Education and Communication; Logistics and Supply Chain Development; and Mexico and Ports of Entry.
The TTCA road map has become the guiding document for the areas where ADOT, the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority come together. The agencies have one major goal: job creation and economic vitality through investment in transportation infrastructure and connections to regional and global trade corridors. It’s no small task, which requires not only a vision, but a collaboration of leaders and stakeholders who believe in that vision and work toward its reality.
“The road map provides an important tool for policy makers and implementers alike for charting Arizona’s economic future,” said Kolbe. “Used wisely, it can guide decision makers on the path toward improved infrastructure, increased trade and economic prosperity for our state.”
Capturing the road map’s vision means looking ahead to three major goals:
- Refocusing Arizona on the core economic foundations of an export-based economy.
- Moving Arizona toward a more globally competitive second century focused on trade, investment and infrastructure that bring new wealth and jobs to our state.
- Ensuring that infrastructure supports and facilitates Arizona’s economic goals.
“By strengthening investment and looking at the opportunities for importing and exporting, we can work on job creation,” Halikowski said.
TTCA leaders have determined that there are four pivot points, or key actions, that can improve the Arizona economy and enhance opportunities for export-driven growth. It begins with increasing trade and investment, which leads to improving connectivity to markets, which spurs high-value production, which ensures the alignment of actions. Each of these four pivot points filters into the next, creating a flow of economic development in Arizona.
Add to that a 20-year plan for infrastructure investment that will enhance connections to major domestic markets in southern California and central Texas and improve border crossings for commerce flow with emerging markets in Mexico. Ultimately infrastructure investments will create strong north-south and east-west trade flows and secure Arizona’s position in a strong global economy.
“We are in the middle of a vibrant regional economy with southern California, Texas and Mexico all around us,” said Gail Lewis, ADOT’s director of international affairs and public-private partnership initiatives. “We’re sitting in an area that continues to grow very rapidly. We’re very well positioned and we have a solid base, but we really need to pivot toward the basket to make the best shot.”
The TTCA road map outlines eight recommendations that will set Arizona in motion for success in a globally competitive economy:
Support Key Commerce Corridors, the 20-year infrastructure investment plan
- Focus on base industries as the core of the economy
- Improve the links among highways, rail, air and sea as transportation connectors
- Improve Arizona’s supply chain opportunities
- Strengthen the Arizona brand as an investment location, particularly for foreign direct investment
- Establish a partnership with Western Mexico to keep trade flowing into Arizona from our historic strong trading partners
- Develop ideas for an era of reduced transportation funding
- Double Arizona’s exports to Mexico by 2020
As Arizona sets out on the path to a vibrant economic future and global competitiveness, TTCA leaders emphasized that this is a plan that will be important to everyone who lives, works and plays in our state. Why is this relevant to the man or woman on the street? It’s all about jobs,” said Bruce Wright, associate vice president for University Research Parks at the University of Arizona and a member of the TTCA. “The end goal is to position us in the global economy so we are competitive, we are engaged.”
To view the original article, please click HERE.
ADOT, Arizona-Mexico Commission Coordinate Trade Efforts with Mexico
Meetings with leaders in Mexico City solidify cross-border relationships
PHOENIX – In a series of meetings with Mexican leaders in Mexico City this month, Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski and other state officials strengthened relationships and discussed ways to improve cross-border traffic, supporting enhanced commercial corridors.
In an unprecedented meeting with an Arizona delegation, a joint meeting of both senators and deputies in a Mexican senate conference room served to ensure a fully coordinated approach to issues of key interest. From that meeting, Mexican officials pledged to initiate a meeting in Sonora in the coming weeks to review the various projects needed for the Mexican side of the corridor to match improvements made or underway to the U.S. side of the ports of entry. This meeting will also include discussion of the need to provide more efficient enforcement within key trade corridors that improves security without unnecessarily discouraging trade.
The partnership with Mexico extends beyond the border. In meetings with Mexican leaders in Mexico City, Halikowski and the Governor’s Policy Advisor for Mexico Margie Emmermann, who is also the executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, stressed the need for binational cooperation and coordination on issues such as security, shared investments, rail, commercial enhancements and deep-water port expansion.
The group had meetings with some of the top leaders in Mexico City, including the senator Ernesto Gandara Camou, who chairs the Senate’s Commerce and Industrial Development Committee, and Manlio Fabio Beltrones, the deputy who leads the coalition of ruling parties in the Chamber of Deputies and is the former Governor of the state of Sonora.
“We extended the level of understanding and cooperation between our two countries. We wanted to meet with the decision makers, those leaders who will be instrumental in helping to advance the cause of cross-border coordination, investment and trade,” Halikowski said. “Forging working relationships with key members of the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto was one of our key objectives and I know we accomplished that.”
Mexico is a critical partner with Arizona, with $13.2 billion in bilateral trade occurring annually. That translates to 754,000 commercial trucks and 1,300 trains crossing the border each year – in addition to 15 million cars and 42.4 million people who crossed the border in 2012. As a result, mobility between Arizona and Mexico, as well as security, are critical issues.
Over the past six years, $450 million has been invested in improving border infrastructure in Arizona, including improvements to the ports of entry and adjacent roadways that support the efficient movement of commercial and non-commercial traffic. Currently, a $225 million project is underway by the U.S. General Services Administration to modernize and expand the Mariposa Port of Entry to speed the processing of commercial traffic between Mexico and the United States. These improvements include 12 vehicle lanes, eight commercial vehicle lanes, and facilities for buses and pedestrians. In addition to improvements at the port of entry, ADOT has invested $20 million in the area’s transportation infrastructure and is continuing to make additional improvements.
To view the original press release, please click HERE.
Governor Jan Brewer Announces
Director of Trade and Investment for Sonora Office
Director to Play Key Role in Boosting Trade Relationship between Arizona, Mexico
PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer has named Ignacio “Nacho” Escalante the Director of Trade and Investment for the Arizona-Mexico Commission’s (AMC) office in Hermosillo, Mexico.
As Director, Mr. Escalante will serve as a liaison and conduit for Mexican business owners seeking investment opportunities in Arizona, and vice versa. His mission will be to help facilitate business growth and relocation in both Arizona and Sonora, benefitting the larger economy of our border region.
“Mexico is Arizona’s single largest trade partner, so it’s critical to our regional economic prosperity that we continue to build ties with our neighbors to the south,” said Governor Brewer. “Mr. Escalante will be a valuable asset in this effort, given his extensive experience in capital finance and keen understanding of economic development in the border region. With his help and the continued commitment of leaders in Arizona and Sonora, we can put in place the conditions for economic opportunity that improves the quality of life for all of our citizens.”
Mr. Escalante has more than three decades of experience in business and finance, including 10 years as General Director of the Economic Development Council of Sonora. In that role, he focused upon attracting foreign capital investment. Most notably, he was involved in the 2005 expansion of a Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Hermosillo.
“I see multiple opportunities to achieve our goal of increasing trade between Arizona and Mexico and attracting new investment by manufacturers and other companies,” said Mr. Escalante. “A stronger economy will create jobs and prosperity benefiting people on both sides of the border.”
The State of Arizona first opened a trade office in Hermosillo in 1992. Budget cuts and the economic recession forced State officials to eliminate the Director of Trade and Investment position in 2008. Now, the position is returning thanks to a joint funding agreement between the Arizona-Mexico Commission and Arizona Commerce Authority.
“Arizona’s trade relationship with Mexico is critical to our state’s economic prosperity,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Sonora serves as Arizona’s gateway to Mexico, and establishing a Director of Trade and Investment in this pivotal location is instrumental in strengthening the connection among companies and markets in Arizona and in Mexico.”
Mr. Escalante received his CPA from the University of Monterrey, in Nuevo León, Mexico (1985). A long-time resident of Sonora, he is fluent in English and Spanish.
In his new position, Mr. Escalante will work closely with the Governor’s Office, Arizona-Mexico Commission and Arizona Commerce Authority to educate and advise Arizona companies interested in doing business in Sonora and other regions of Mexico. He also will assist companies in their search for suitable contacts in Mexico for distribution, representation, joint ventures and other commercial activities fundamental to Arizona’s economic growth.
Additionally, Mr. Escalante will assist State agencies in the planning and execution of industry-specific meetings, conferences and seminars that promote Arizona in areas such as commerce; transportation and trade corridors; tourism; educational institutions; and health-related services.
As Arizona’s top trading partner, Mexico accounted for 33.5% ($5.97 billion) of all exports and 35.1% ($6.16 billion) of all imports in 2011. In 2011, Arizona exports to Mexico exceeded pre-recession levels, reaching an all-time high of $5.97 billion.
Click HERE for copy of Press Release
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