Leaders meet to discuss Arizona’s role in global marketplace

As the World Trades: Arizona’s Place in the Global Economy
Leaders meet to discuss Arizona’s role in global marketplace
Arizona-Mexico Commission holds global economy forum in Phoenix

 PHOENIX — More than 150 leaders from Arizona’s transportation, trade and commerce industries came together with international entities last week to discuss Arizona’s stake in the global marketplace and the changes that must come to encourage international trade in the state.

The Arizona-Mexico Commission, in partnership with the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA)– a formed partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority – hosted a global trade forum on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 in downtown Phoenix. The “As the World Trades: Arizona’s Place in the Global Economy” event brought together leaders from the state’s transportation and trade industries, along with a visit from Governor Jan Brewer, who stressed the importance of securing Arizona’s role in a global economy.

“I tasked the Alliance with developing a roadmap that would guide Arizona’s development of trade and transportation corridors for the next generation,” said Governor Brewer. “Even more simply, this effort is about two words: jobs and the economy. The stakes have never been higher. With growing global and regional competition and a fully interconnected world, we must be proactive or we will simply watch the world pass us by.”

The interactive forum was moderated by Todd Sanders, President & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and offered insights from the following panelists: Jim Kolbe, former US Congressman; John Halikowski, Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation; Gene Seroka, President of the Americas for APL Limited; Sandra Watson, President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority; and Bruce Wright, Associate Vice-President for University Research Parks at the University of Arizona.  The forum focused primarily on the trade relationship with Mexico – Arizona’s neighbor to the south and the 14th largest economy in the world – and provided discussion and dialogue about the importance of being able to expand the throughput of trade across our ports of entry in order to remain competitive with other markets.

Last year, Arizona exported $18 billion in goods – over $6 billion to Mexico alone – and touted more than 500,000 businesses statewide. But for trade and the economy to grow, so must the state’s transportation infrastructure that carries people, goods and services. TTCA Co-Chair and ADOT Director John Halikowski acknowledged the infrastructure investment that must be made now to carry our state forward – an investment amid funding challenges and an 18-cent gas tax that has not been increased since 1992.

“If I had one wish, it would be to get the public to understand that transportation infrastructure investment is a wise use of our money,” said Halikowski. “We need to collaborate to solve the funding problem. Arizona is positioned to be a major transportation hub with its proximity to Mexico, Texas and California. We must invest in our state now while continuing to pursue transportation and trade corridors through projects like Interstate 11, intercity passenger rail, the North/South Freeway and the Border Master Plan.”

Former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe, who is a recognized expert in trade issues, is co-chair of the TTCA, which is expected to present a report to Governor Brewer this fall with recommendations on how to advance Arizona’s trade relationships.

“Arizona has geographic advantages being positioned closely to Mexico, California, Texas and Canada. We are surrounded by big economies,” Kolbe said. “We have longtime ties to Mexico, we have tourism and land ownership, and we have a good business climate that is conducive to investment. But there are challenges ahead. The new Panama Canal expansion is going to change the trade paths in the United States and could bypass Arizona. Our state lacks good border infrastructure. But the biggest problem is the lack of a united front by political and commerce leaders to unify this state when it comes to trade and transportation improvements.”

For more information about the AMC, visit www.azmc.org or visit www.azttca.org for information about the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance.

Governor Announces Border Region Roadmap Project

Governor Announces Border Region Roadmap Project
An essential tool for border communities in their long-term planning
and economic strategy

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer’s Four Cornerstones of Reform policy agenda highlights the importance of economic development near the southern border. Specifically, the Governor stresses the need for continuous collaboration between local communities to ensure that growth maximizes trade and minimizes negative impacts on affected communities.

The Arizona Border Communities Roadmap is a collaborative effort between the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Office of Tourism. The project’s mission is to identify, prioritize and advance policy and strategic action focusing on the economic development opportunities of the communities of Douglas, Nogales, San Luis, Somerton, and Yuma.

Mexico is Arizona’s top trading partner, supporting millions of jobs in the U.S. and Arizona, 114,000 in Arizona alone. Mexican visitors spend approximately $7.3 million each day in Arizona, pumping $2.3 billion annually into the State economy. According to Margie Emmermann, Arizona-Mexico Commission Director, “Arizona’s economy benefits tremendously from a strong relationship with Mexico. However, much of the economic activity and traffic occurs in Arizona’s border communities – Douglas, Nogales, San Luis, Somerton, and Yuma. Ensuring their economic viability and sustainability is critical to Arizona.”

During the June 2011 Plenary Session of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, a series of meetings were held with Governor Brewer to discuss the needs of border communities. The AMC has been working collaboratively with other state agencies to advance the topics addressed as priority needs in the border region. On January 25, 2012, the Arizona border community leaders discussed the following fundamental questions:

  1. What makes border communities different from other rural communities?
  2. What are the unique needs to make border communities sustainable?
  3. What needs to be done to address these different needs of border communities?
  4. What are the priorities to move border communities toward sustainability?

From that dialogue, members agreed to develop a border region economic roadmap that outlines the strategic investments that will lead to sustained economic success in Arizona’s border communities. The project includes documenting border communities’ assets, examining best practices, developing an economic vision and defining the strategic action. The process is intended to produce preliminary recommendations in June 2013 with the final document by September.

Please visit the Border Roadmap website by clicking here.

D-backs contingent to visit Hermosillo, Mexico this week for Caribbean Series

D-backs contingent to visit Hermosillo, Mexico this week for Caribbean Series

Youth clinic, ceremonial first pitches and news conference to highlight club’s second trip to Mexico in five months

The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) announced that a contingent of executives will travel to Hermosillo, Mexico this week to take part in various events surrounding the 2013 Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series). Among those in attendance will be President & CEO Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks), Executive Vice President Tom Harris, Sr. Vice President Josh Rawitch and Special Assistant to the President & CEO, D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez.

“Hermosillo is the center of the baseball world this week and the D-backs are excited to be a part of the Caribbean Series and get our first complete look at Estadio Sonora,” said Hall, who advised on the new stadium project. “With the World Baseball Classic just over a month away at Chase Field and Salt River Fields, this trip will also give us an opportunity remind all of the baseball fans in Mexico of the opportunity they have coming up to travel to Arizona and watch Team Mexico play.”

This morning, the D-backs and the Arizona Mexico Commission will jointly host a clinic for 50 youngsters at Estadio Mundialistas Hermosillenses, led by Gonzalez. Each participant will receive a D-backs hat and T-shirt at the clinic.

Tomorrow, Gonzalez will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the 4 p.m. MT game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and on Wednesday, Hall will have that honor before the game between the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

On Wednesday afternoon, (approximately 5:00 p.m. MT), the D-backs will host a news conference at Estadio Sonora, the new ballpark that was inaugurated for the Caribbean Series after the D-backs consulted on the planning and construction. The ballpark includes several features that resemble the award-winning Spring Training home of the D-backs, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

The D-backs have a long-standing history in Hermosillo, having played exhibition games there each spring from 2008-10. The team’s Spanish-language broadcaster, Oscar Soria, will call the play-by-play of the Caribbean Series while fellow broadcaster Richard Saenz will also take part in the club’s visit. Saenz joined Hall, Gonzalez, Rawitch and General Manager Kevin Towers on a visit to Sonora in October, when the D-backs met with several key Sonoran officials and took part in Opening Night ceremonies for the Hermosillo Naranjeros of the Mexican Winter League.

The World Baseball Classic comes to Phoenix from March 7-10, with several opportunities to see Team USA, Team Mexico, Team Canada and Team Italy.

The D-backs will host Team Mexico in an exhibition game at Salt River Fields on March 5 at 7:10 p.m. MT. The first official game for Team Mexico will take place on March 7 at 1:10 p.m. MT vs. Team Italy and on March 8 at 7:10 p.m. MT, Team USA will host Team Mexico at Chase Field. On March 9, Team Mexico will play Team Canada at Salt River Fields at 12:30 p.m. MT and that evening, Team USA will host Team Italy at Chase Field. The finale of the first round of the WBC will be on March 10 when Team USA plays Team Canada at 1 p.m. MT at Chase Field.