Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson has been a member of the Arizona-Mexico Commission since taking office in 1997. For the past 18 years, the commission has worked with both governmental entities to improve relations and foreign trade. In a recent report released by the AMC, exports from Arizona have increased 20% since 2013. “With the dire financial situation our state is in, the rise in exports is good for both building a relationship with our neighboring country and for Arizona taxpayers,” Supervisor Johnson stated. “Arizona receives over $1 billion a year from exports to Mexico. Boarder security is extremely important. It is imperative that some sort of balance be found so that businesses can make secure transactions and keep business free moving between the two countries,” Johnson continued.
The AMC’s report stated that 2014 exports came in at $8.638 billion which is up from $7.069 billion in 2013. According to the report, part of the gain in exports came from the opening of the Arizona State Office in Mexico last year. “AMC members along with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Office of Tourism, and the City of Phoenix worked diligently to make the new office happen,” Johnson said. “The new office has so far helped advance our relationship with Mexico and also opened us up for more trade opportunities,” Johnson said.
AMC members are also working hard to make doing business across both boarders easier. According to Supervisor Johnson, one of the goals of the commission is to allow communities and businesses in Mexico access to banking services in Arizona. “We are seeing several bank branches closing down in cities and towns bordering Mexico because of illicit funds and money laundering. While these problems do exist, these closures are hurting Arizona businesses who are now having to pay higher transaction costs and consumer fees on international money transfers with Mexican businesses,” Johnson said. “AMC has been working with both Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to try and find a solution to this so that Arizona businesses can continue their long-lasting relationship with foreign entities while at the same time protecting the banking industry from illicit funds,” Johnson continued.
Senators McCain and Flake recently drafted a joint letter asking the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to hold a hearing to examine the possibility. “With Mexico being Arizona’s number one trading partner, it is crucial that some sort of balance be found so that cross the border transactions are not troublesome on American businesses,” Johnson said. “With today’s regulations, Americans are being asked to jump through hopes and even travel outside their home town in order to get adequate banking services for their business’s needs,” Johnson ended.
For more information on the Arizona-Mexico Commission, please visit:http://www.azmc.org/