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Commentary: California Trade Mission to Mexico Sows Seeds for Mutual Benefits

Friday, November 29, 2019

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The recent California trade mission to Mexico made enormous strides to build positive relations with our neighbors to the south. And that was no accidente, given the importance California places on its cultural, economic and environmental relationship with Mexico.

A formal delegation of California government and business leaders visited Mexico earlier this month to reaffirm our mutual friendship, to build on the accomplishments and good intentions of those who have preceded us, and to once again reaffirm that California is truly a place where all dreams are welcome.

The results of the visit exceeded expectations: strengthened relations and bold commitments for future direction and innovative ways to care for our environment, particularly in the border region. With the valuable investment of time and talent from both sides in this important trade and diplomatic mission, we pursued a mantra of “hey, we are in this together so let’s do our best even in challenging times and set the international relations bar higher, not lower.”

Our delegates, who included energy innovators, representatives of California’s influential agricultural industry and international business leaders, including the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, met with their Mexican counterparts to address issues of mutual interest, such as energy, tourism, climate, agriculture, water, sustainability, migration and resiliency. The outcomes were encouraging.

California and Mexico formalized our shared directions in these and other areas with a significant set of agreements to expand economic and investment cooperation and renewed and deepened an appreciation for one another as neighbors, in a way that will benefit California and Mexico alike. The signed Memoranda of Understanding provide an agreed upon set of guidelines for moving forward. And that is a direction that benefits everyone.

California and Mexico representatives shared best practices, discussed our expectation for both sides of the border, and identified revenue-enhancing opportunities for our countries that will help to boost our economies and spread prosperity among our people.

Particularly encouraging was the exploration of ways to continue to support travel and tourism as an economic boon for both California and Mexico.

The numbers reflect the significance of this mutually beneficial relationship, particularly in the tourism industry. In 2018, visitors from Mexico injected $3.5 billion of spending into California’s travel and tourism economy.

Mexico sends more visitors to California than any other country by a wide margin. This is tremendously significant for California, which continues to enjoy year-after-year tourism growth, generating more than $140 billion for the state last year and supporting the livelihoods of millions of residents.

And the interest in cross-border travel interest is mutual: 35 million Americans traveled to Mexico in 2017, up 12.4% from 2016, reflecting steady gains over the past several years, according to the U.S. National Tourism and Trade Office.

Promoting travel and tourism with our top trading partner makes good sense. While the delegation was in Mexico deepening relations with our neighbors, a new California Welcome Center opened at the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) gateway, a 120-meter pedestrian bridge between Mexico and the United States connecting the Tijuana International Airport with a terminal in San Diego.

The CBX Welcome Center now greets visitors landing in Tijuana from throughout Mexico, as well as from China and Brazil. Visitors receive concierge services, including maps and information for landmarks throughout the state. The nearly 1.5 million travelers entering California through this gateway every year will now be guided to our state’s most treasured features.

Tourism is, of course, the concierge to business, and in a true partnership, both sides benefit from the relationships and the economic potential. We all win, todos ganamos.

Missions serve this purpose, and the California-Mexico trade mission exceeded expectations. By sowing seeds of strengthened relations, economic partnerships with our neighbors can firmly take root and grow for the benefit of all.

Source: San Diego Tribune

Category: International Trade, Economic News