Valdez: What Doug Ducey needs to tell Donald Trump
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey needs to talk to Donald Trump about this Mexico thing.
Trump’s rhetoric on the border is at odds with Ducey’s goals for our state. Trump’s proposed policies would hurt Arizona economically.
That’s why our governor, who supported Trump, now needs to have a long talk with the president-elect about the negative economic impact of border walls, mass deportations and renegotiated trade deals.
Mexico is Arizona’s biggest trading partner – and that’s a relationship Ducey been working to improve for the sake of growing Arizona’s economy.
Trump hates NAFTA, which brings us big bucks
Donald Trump took aim at U.S. free trade deals in a speech delivered in Western Pennsylvania.
Ducey is trying to sell the Arizona-Sonora region to investors as a dandy place to do business, leveraging the benefits of both countries under the North American Free Trade Agreement. You know, the one Trump says is so awful.
Arizona’s free-trade exports totaled $13 billion in 2015, according to the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. The vast majority of that was under NAFTA. But not all of it.
The United States has 14 trade agreements with 20 countries, and our state uses a number of them.
In 2014, more than 7,500 companies in Arizona exported goods. Those are the kind of small- and medium-sized businesses that create jobs in our state. Fifty-seven percent of Arizona’s exports go to free trade partners.
Putting those agreements in doubt – let alone ripping them up – causes the kind of uncertainty business hates. It costs jobs. It stops investments. It hinders expansion.
This is something a real-estate developer from New York City may not know.
Ducey knows. He can explain it to Trump.
Goods made under free trade agreements can cross the border in both directions several times as part of the manufacturing process. An efficient port of entry saves time – which equals money.
Arizona needs bigger ports, not taller walls
That’s one reason Ducey is working to make it easier and more efficient for commercial vehicles to cross the Arizona-Mexico border. This hinges on cooperation between federal governments in Washington D.C. and Mexico City. It also requires federal dollars – from both governments – for infrastructure improvements.
Here’s another reason: A well-oiled port of entry matters.
Arizona’s port at Nogales remains a major entry point for fresh produce from Mexico. But aggressive efforts by Texas have diverted some of the cargo that was historically ours. Why? Because Texas boasts more time-efficient inspection and entry.
Arizona’s congressional delegation has been working to secure adequate staffing at the state-of-the-art Mariposa Port of Entry at Nogales so we can offer better crossing times.
It would make us more competitive.
The state is also working on infrastructure improvements on the roads leading from the port. Cooperative efforts are also ongoing to get Mexico to streamline inspections on its side.
If Trump diverts funding from our ports to build walls, Arizona won’t get the staff it needs at Mariposa. If Trump continues to antagonize Mexico, international relationships that have been nurtured in the interest of facilitating more efficient trade will evaporate.
Shoppers from Mexico also flock to our state – on valid visas – to buy, buy, buy at malls. A study done before the recession found they spend billions annually in our state.
If Trump hurts Mexico, it hurts Arizona
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto reaches out to US president-elect Donald Trump, agreeing to meet with the Republican billionaire whose anti-immigrant rhetoric has infuriated Mexicans.
This is largely a southern Arizona phenomenon. But efforts are ongoing to extend the distance Mexican visa holders can travel into Arizona without obtaining a secondary permit.
This would expand the spending statewide, bringing benefits to more merchants, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.
We benefit from welcoming Mexican tourists.
EDITORIAL: Not all Arizona Republicans hate the border
Arizona gets it. After years of focusing solely on problems associated with the border, our state is building on the opportunities inherent in sharing a border with a friendly nation that has a growing middle class.
Trump could learn a lot from Arizona’s experience. He had better learn quickly.
According to AP, Trump’s election itself led to a fall in the peso and left investors nervous about Mexico.
That reaction was based on campaign rhetoric.
If Trump actually acts on his anti-Mexican rhetoric, the result could be costly to Mexico and to Arizona on a number of different levels.
As one businessman to another, Ducey needs to have a little heart-to-heart with Donald Trump.