Business Opportunities in Trade with Mexico

THCC Lea Marquez

Lea Marquez-Peterson, President & CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

¿Sabías que? (Did you know?):

• Arizona trades over $14 billion a year with Mexico which is our largest trading partner
• Over 760,000 trucks crossed our Arizona international border in 2013. American consumers get nearly 40 percent of their fresh produce through the Nogales port of entry alone.
• There has been an investment of over $450 million dollars in border infrastructure over the last seven years

Arizona businesses see great opportunities in growing trade with Mexico. Mexico’s geographic proximity, shared culture with the large Hispanic population in Arizona and same time zone make it a great business partner for Arizona.  Businesses should not overlook the opportunity for additional revenue streams in a mostly untapped consumer market and a growing industrial sector that can serve as suppliers and purchasers.  The Mexican state of Sonora, which borders Arizona, has one of the fastest growing middle classes in Mexico and a GDP that is trending higher than Arizona’s.  One of the first steps for businesses is due diligence in their industry and to begin to build relationships with our business partners to the South.

Our Tucson Hispanic Chamber has assisted businesses over the last several years who want to build relationships cross-border. Our chamber works closely with Arizona businesses who want to find customers and suppliers in Northern Mexico and with Mexican businesses who want to grow and expand into Arizona.  We regularly host Trade Mission Trips to various cities in Sonora, such as Cananaea, Hermosillo and Guaymas to visit industrial plants, meet with business leaders and elected officials. The trips are open to the public and we provide translation and follow-up assistance after the Trips. Our next Trade Mission Trip is to Nogales, Sonora on October 2nd and 3rd and will focus on Aerospace and Electronics industries.

In addition, our chamber members from Arizona and Northern Mexico participate on our International Business Advisory committee. The committee discusses the ease of crossings at our ports for pedestrians, vehicles and commercial trucks. We also identify Industrial Expos hosted by our Mexican Chamber partners in Sonora and assist members in hosting vendor booths and attending.

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face in exploring cross-border trade is the lack of connections. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber hosts “Conexiones (Connections)” events regularly so that business owners may meet face-to-face and explore opportunities. An example is our Conexiones Luncheon hosted in Tucson in August where the Presidents and Members of Coparmex Sonora, Comparmex Sinaloa and CMIC Sonora (Construction chamber) spoke about their chamber offerings and businesses.  There were many conversations, business material distributed and plans for future meetings set.

Click to view Arizona’s exports/imports trade with Mexico

Finally, a role that the Tucson Hispanic Chamber plays is advocacy for additional resources and an awareness of the opportunity for growth in cross-border trade. We meet regularly with our federal, state and local elected officials to discuss bottlenecks, policies that impact trade and provide feedback that we receive from Mexican businesses. An exciting development is the investment into the Nogales Mariposa Port of Entry. The $200 million dollar investment greatly increases the number of vehicle and truck inspection lanes.  The U.S Department of Commerce released a study in 2008 that indicated that Border wait times at the five busiest southern border Ports of Entry result in an average economic output loss of $116 million per minute of delay. The innovation and investment in the Mariposa Port of Entry has great economic benefit to residents throughout Arizona.

In Pima County alone, Mexican nationals spend over $1 billion dollars a year in shopping and tourism. Many of our Mexican business owners are visiting Arizona as consumers. At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, we are working to change that conversation to shopping AND doing business in Arizona.  Learn more at



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *