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Grow Your Business
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is
the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes
a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.
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Los Angeles, CA 90017
Last week’s Border Governors Conference, hosted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger here in Los Angeles, served as an appropriate reminder of how much the economic and environmental futures of the United States and Mexico are intertwined. Both of our nations are facing a slowdown in the economy and we share a growing concern about the environment, public safety and the millions of families who have relatives on both sides of the border.
The economies of our two nations depend on each other. Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner with 1 billion dollars worth of goods and services crossing the U.S.-Mexico border every day. Mexico is the second largest export market for the United States and trails only Canada in the amount of money that Mexican consumers and businesses spend to purchase American products and services. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the early 1990’s, trade between United States and Mexico has quadrupled and today, U.S. trade with Mexico is more than double the amount of trade we do with the European Union.
Our personal ties are strong as well. The L.A. area is second only to Mexico City as the home to the largest population of citizens of Mexican decent. With these many business and personal connections, it should come as no surprise that Mexican visitors are the single largest segment of international tourism to Los Angeles.
Unlike the governors from these nine United States and Mexico border states, some American politicians fail to see the benefits of international trade with Mexico. Do they think America would be better off if there were no jobs in Mexico created by trade between our two nations? Would America be better off if Mexican businesses and consumers did not have the resources to purchase goods and services from the United States? During the past several years U.S. exports to Mexico and other nations have grown dramatically and kept our nation from falling into a deeper economic downturn.
A flourishing Mexican economy will increase jobs in both nations, generate more consumer demand for U.S. products and contribute to a decrease in illegal immigration. All of the border state governors from the United States and Mexico share the common goal of working together to build new economic opportunities for our citizens and to make the places we live cleaner, safer and more prosperous.
We applaud the border governors for passing a series of important declarations aimed at reducing the many roadblocks to trade across the border. The leaders support U.S. and Mexican efforts to add additional border crossing inspectors and increase staffing during peak travel times. They also set the goal of substantially reducing wait times by 2013 and developing a Bi-national State-to-State Regional Border Master Plans to facilitate regional and infrastructure planning along the U.S.-Mexico border region.
Neighbors matter, whether they are across the street, across the river or across the border. As voters from California and the United States cast our ballots this November, let’s remind our candidates that economically vibrant neighbors make good neighbors and global trade is an essential ingredient in that recipe.
And that’s The Business Perspective.
Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Samuel Garrison, Vice President of Public Policy.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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