MEXICO CITY — President Donald Trump said Tuesday in Phoenix his administration will probably end up terminating NAFTA. But, at the same time, other prominent Arizonans were arriving in Mexico City to pursue the opposite.
The goal of the delegation is to strengthen ties with Mexico, particularly now that NAFTA is being renegotiated.
“Arizona will continue to play a leading role and making sure that the NAFTA negotiation goes well,” said Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is part of the state’s contingent in Mexico.
Representatives of nonprofits, chambers, businesses and government are attending this trip. Almost one-third of the Arizona legislature is here, both Republicans and Democrats.
According to the organizers, it’s a historic event and the largest trade delegation to visit Mexico City from Arizona. One of the leaders here is state representative Tony Rivero.
“This is an opportunity for elected officials to interact with Mexican elected officials, and also business leaders from both sides of the border to look for opportunities and create jobs and create wealth for both countries,” Rivero explained.
The delegation will visit the state of Guanajuato, about four hours away from Mexico City and an important industrial center.
“Once you develop closer ties, you can share dreams and you can build better futures,” said Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, a Mexican senator representing Guanajuato, who will facilitate some of the activities.
Another member of the delegation with high hopes is David Adame, president of Chicanos por la Causa.
“We are gonna make our country — I think it is great already — but it’s gonna be even greater, and that’s what we need to do with this kind of relationships,” Adame said.
And someone who wants to see the Arizona-Mexico relationship grow is Joaquín Ruiz, the vice president for innovation at the University of Arizona. And he says it’d better be fast.
“The key, and what’s really important of this event is that, if we don’t get our act together as a state right away, California and Texas are gonna eat our lunch,” said Ruiz.
The Arizona delegation has held meetings with Mexican politicians, including the secretary of foreign affairs, Luis Videgaray.