Arizona Forum Addresses US-Mexico Relations

By Jude Joffe-Block
September 12, 2014
Jude Joffe-Block
The forum in Phoenix was the first in a series on U.S.-Mexico relations.

PHOENIX — Leaders and policy analysts from both sides of the border gathered on Friday to talk about the future of the United States-Mexico relationship.

The forum was sponsored by two think tanks, the McCain Institute for Leadership, and the Center for American Progress.

A recurring topic was the new trade office the city of Phoenix and the Arizona Commerce Authority are inaugurating in Mexico City next month.

In a panel discussion, Dan Restrepo of the Center for American Progress said there is a growing trend of U.S. politicians at the state and local levels reaching out to Mexico.

“We have had nine governors visit Mexico in 2014, we have an increasing number of mayors,” Restrepo said. “That kind of interaction helps fuel the kind of small but very impactful changes that can occur in the bilateral relationship.”

Jose Antonio Meade, Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations, said even minor bilateral projects can have a big impact on a lot of people in both countries.

“Even if we are just able to get together on how to administer the Rio Bravo water resources, or how to administer in a smarter way the border crossing in Douglas or in Nogales, those things that might appear small on the outside, because of the size of our population, the size of our economies, will have huge impacts on the quality of life and the productivity in the North American region,” Meade said.

Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina-Mora, also attended the forum. In comments to Fronteras Desk, he highlighted the importance of economic partnerships.

“Mexico is the largest customer of Arizona,” Medina-Mora said. “In business school they teach us we must take care of our customers. Well, Mexico is the first and most important customer of Arizona, and it will be for the future."

Friday’s forum in Phoenix was the first in a series sponsored by the two think tanks.