Business and civic leaders prepare for trade mission to Mexico

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 04/17/2017

Public and private sector representatives, including state leaders and county executives, will visit Guadalajara and Mexico City

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The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle will lead a delegation of business leaders, elected officials, and economic development professionals to Mexico this May. From May 15 to May 19, delegates will visit Guadalajara and Mexico City, two cities with particular importance to our regional and statewide economies, to expand business opportunities for local companies and establish international partnerships in both the public and private sectors.

Seattle Metro Chamber President and CEO Maud Daudon said, “In our global economy, it’s essential to build bridges to key trading partners to benefit businesses in our state and region. This is the first time that our International Leadership Mission is going to Mexico, and it’s a visit that is long overdue. Many of our region’s companies have locations there, and we also have several key sectors in common, including technology, aerospace, and retail.”

Over the course of the five-day trip, delegates will foster stronger and deeper relationships and lasting connections with key global leaders and businesses for the betterment of the Seattle metro region’s economy. Each year, the Seattle Metro Chamber and the Trade Alliance conduct an International Leadership Mission to engage business leaders in rapidly-growing economies on their thinking, operations, and best practices, as well as to gain insights on Seattle’s competitiveness.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said, “Snohomish County has strong links to Mexico, which is a major destination for our products in sectors such as aerospace, manufacturing, and agriculture. This relationship goes both ways, and this trip to Guadalajara and Mexico City, two of the country’s most innovative cities, offers an opportunity to expand on those existing links. With over 60 percent of jobs in our county related to trade, our long-term prosperity depends on nurturing productive connections with our trading partners.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “Trade is critically important to our economy. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen ties that open new markets and encourage new ways of tackling climate change and other global challenges.”

Mexico is Washington state’s 12th-largest trade partner. Total trade between Mexico and Washington state for 2016 is estimated at $3.27 billion, including $1.96 billion in exports.

The Consul of Mexico in Seattle, Roberto Dondisch, said, “The Mexican Government is looking forward to welcoming the International Leadership Mission. Mexico and Washington state understand the pivotal role that international trade plays in developing competitive economies in the global scale. The ILM is a great opportunity to strengthen the economic, social, and cultural ties that bind us together.”

Highlights of the five-day trip include:

  • May 15-17, Guadalajara
    • A Climate Change and Innovation Summit that builds on the leadership of Washington state and our sister state, Jalisco, and the relationship that the two states’ governors forged at the Paris climate conference. The goal of the summit is for both regions to come away with ideas, commitments and intent on following through with innovating technologies to mitigate climate change.
    • Site visits to Kueski, a locally founded fintech startup providing microloans that secured the largest capital round in the fintech industry in Mexico, and Oracle, one of the major tech transnational companies operating from Guadalajara.
    • A session on narrowing the digital divide with CANIETI (the National Chamber of Electronics, Telecommunications, and Information Technologies), which represents more than 1,000 companies throughout Mexico.
  • May 18-19, Mexico City
    • Meetings with leaders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Economy on the role of Mexico’s federal government in growing the economy
    • Discussion of the challenges and opportunities NAFTA presents with Dr. Luis De la Calle, former Undersecretary of International Business Negotiations at the Ministry of Economy in Mexico; lead negotiator for Mexico’s bilateral trade agreements and regional multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organization; former Minister of Trade Issues at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC.

This year’s International Leadership Mission will run in conjunction with a Washington State Trade Mission focused on business-to-business export opportunities for small businesses and market access for Washington’s agricultural exports. The Seattle Metro Chamber and the Trade Alliance are working closely with the Washington State Departments of Commerce and Agriculture to collaborate and coordinate on key group meetings for both delegations in Guadalajara and Mexico City.

“Trade and international investment are vitally important to strengthening communities and our statewide economy,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Washington state will continue to lead by taking a proactive approach to engaging with our valued North American neighbors and other key business partners around the world.”

Derek Sandison, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said, “Washington’s agriculture community relies on a robust export market. One third of our state’s food and agricultural products are shipped to overseas markets and Mexico is a key trading partner, importing $313 million worth of these products last year. This trade mission is one way we can demonstrate our commitment to maintaining important relationships that benefit both our countries."