November 30 – December 1st 2017
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora

FPAA Board Director Jaime Chamberlain and Foreign Affairs Director Georgina Felix participated in the AMC Annual meeting that took place in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. Felix participated in the committee Sessions for Agribusiness and Wildlife, and Transportation, Infrastructure & Ports. Additionally, Felix and Jaime Chamberlain participated in the Regional Competitive Advantages in Infrastructure of the Megaregion Sonora-Arizona, private meeting with Governor Pavlovich and Governor Ducey.

At the Agribusiness and Wildlife committee FPAA spoke about NAFTA as relates to produce. Felix explained the current seasonal remedy provision for produce tabled by the U.S. government and how this would affect the exporters of the state of Sonora and the Distributors in Arizona as well as the economic impact that these industries have in the megaregion and both countries.

During the meeting of the Transportation, Infrastructure & Ports committee, a study was unveiled that presented the advances on the Mexico – Nogales corridor. The study identified the logistics clusters and agricultural production areas. Produce is 10 times the volume of other items transported on the corridor; additionally, there are other commodities related to produce that are transported such as boxes, plastic containers, pallets, etc.

The study analyzed the changes in flow on other ports of entry, such as Pharr TX, and found that the production of fruits and vegetables in other states of Mexico have grown faster than Sonora and Sinaloa and these are the bulk of the growth in Texas POE; nevertheless, it was also concluded that Nogales’ growth has diminished in the past three years due to the detour of produce to TX ports of entry since the Mazatlán-Durango road was opened.

The study found that the Mexico – Nogales corridor is the 2nd most important in Mexico (#1 is Mexico -Laredo and #3 is Mexico-Tijuana). Some of the recommendations of the study include to expand the joint inspection to produce, measure the economic impact of the Querobabi checkpoint, add refrigerated warehouses, capture Nayarit, Jalisco and Michoacán markets, and create synergies to handle fruit exports.

ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit (BLU) was recognized for their results in the year the unit has been in place. BLU implemented the International Border Inspection Qualification Program (IBIQ) that train drivers to self-inspect their commercial motor vehicles prior to entering Arizona’s POE.

The AMC annual meeting conferences were heavily focused on NAFTA. Carlos Vejar Borrego from Holland & Knight Mexico explained that unlike the U.S., if Mexico wanted to exit NAFTA this decision would have to be voted by the Mexican senate.

Kenneth Smith Ramos Mexican Chief Negotiator of NAFTA, stated that in the frame of NAFTA the three countries trade $3billion dollars every day; Mexico’s trade with the U.S. and Canada is $36 million dollars per hour. Mexico’s investment in the U.S. has created 125,000 jobs in this country, and for every dollar that Mexico exports to the world 40% of it is originated in the U.S. Just in Arizona NAFTA has created 90 thousand jobs and 10% of these are of Mexican companies in the State.

Smith Ramos mentioned that Mexico follows 4 guidelines for the NAFTA negotiations: 1) Do not move backwards: Mexico is looking into increase the competitivity of the region, reduce the cost of doing business among the 3 countries; 2) Recognize that NAFTA has one quarter of a century and needs to be updated (internet, energy, new technologies, etc.); 3) NAFTA needs to be more inclusive and responsible: small and medium companies chapter, labor chapter, etc.; 4) Create certainty to trade and investments.

Mexico has a strong posture opposing the U.S. position on trade deficit, dispute resolution, rules of origin, government procurement, trucking, and commercial restrictions to produce.

During the Regional Competitive Advantages in Infrastructure of the Megaregion Sonora-Arizona, private meeting with Governor Pavlovich and Governor Ducey, Jaime Chamberlain spoke about the importance of the Joint Inspection Program that has been implemented by CBP and Mexican Customs in Arizona’s POEs. Chamberlain thanked ADOT efforts on the modernization of SR-189, and Ruby Road and Mariposa exits which work will begin in 2019, 2 years before schedule. Last, Chamberlain stressed the importance of the investment of $2 billion dollars done by the Mexican government on federal highway 15.