Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Executive Director Betsy Markey met virtually on Monday with Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, governor of the Mexican state of Jalisco, to set the stage for closer trade relations under the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“International partners play a vital role in Colorado’s economy and USMCA provides long-term stability in our North American trade and investment partners,” Markey said in a statement. “Jalisco’s strong agricultural industry and focus on growing tech-enabled industries make it a great partner for Colorado.”
Given that Colorado had 32 states in Mexico to choose from, and other northern Mexican states have closer cultural and familial ties, why Jalisco? For starters, Jalisco’s economy is one of that country’s largest after Mexico City and surrounding areas. Likewise, its capital Guadalajara and suburbs make up the second-largest metropolitan area in the country after Mexico City.
Like Colorado, Jalisco also has a robust agricultural economy, especially when it comes to beef and pork production, and a strong tourism sector, with Puerto Vallarta a big draw. Colorado is a hub of the craft beer industry, while Jalisco pretty much owns tequila. Not as well known is that Jalisco has an emerging financial technology sector, which the state’s economic development office said makes it an “ideal partner to explore collaborative initiatives.”
Monday’s meeting will kick off a series of industry-level discussions among business and economic leaders from the two states to discuss global supply chain trends and leveraging relationships and the USCMA to drive economic development.
COVID-19 is also playing a role, in that the state wants more regional partnerships to secure its supply chains. The nation’s heavy reliance on China for medical supplies contributed to shortages that left states competing with each other during the early months of the pandemic.
Also participating on the call were the US-Mexico Foundation, Mexican Council for Foreign Trade, and Biennial of the Americas, which Denver has hosted.
Colorado exports to Mexico declined 15.5% last year, but the country remains the second-largest buyer of Colorado goods after Canada, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among Colorado’s top exports to Mexico are manufactured food products, chemicals, non-electrical machinery and fabricated metal products. Mexico purchased $261 million in Colorado agricultural goods last year, according to COEDIT.
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