Colorado Business with Mexico is, in fact, a Two Way Street

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August 2015 

By Elie Smilovitz 

Consul for Political, Economic and Press Affairs of Mexico in Denver

Today Mexico is Colorado’s second largest trading partner. But this wasn’t like that in the early 90’s. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came to be in 1993, trade between Colorado and Mexico has increased nonstop at a rate of 9.6% per year, according to Mexico’s Secretary of Economy.

Colorado companies are increasingly seeking new markets for their products and services. Since 1993 their exports have grown 138%. However, even that very high figure looks small next to the 590% growth in Colorado’s exports to Mexico.

Currently, bilateral trade reaches 2.8 billion dollars, according to Promexico. This trade is directly related to 100 thousand jobs in Colorado that depend upon trade with Mexico. Still, 2.8 billion is much less than the 195 billion worth of trade between Texas and Mexico; the 60 billion in California; the 18 billion in Illinois and even the 14 billion of Arizona or even Utah’s 4 billion. Judging by these figures gathered from various US and Mexican sources, there is a lot of room for growth.

In Detail

Processed food, together with chemicals account for nearly half of Colorado’s exports to Mexico. While electronics and computers represent nearly half of Mexico’s exports to Colorado. Even if the trade balance currently favors Mexico, Colorado’s exports surpass a billion dollars per year to that market. So it is, indeed, a two way street for Coloradans when it comes to trading and doing business with Mexico.

Overall, Mexico’s exports to the US have 40 cents of US made components, making the US-Mexico trade partnership one of the deepest integrated in the world. It is, indeed, a partnership, not a one way street sale.

Sectors such as energy, aviation, aerospace, information technologies/software and tourism are key to both Mexico and Colorado, thus, among the economic areas were bilateral business opportunities should be explored by both Mexicans and Coloradans alike.

Western Union, Level 3, Ball, Prologis or Gold Resource Corp. are among Colorado’s companies with an important presence in Mexico. On the other end, Grupo Cementos Chihuahua, Cemex or Bimbo have established themselves successfully in Colorado.

It’s Also a People Business

According to Denver International Airport (DIA), during 2014 alone, over half a million people traveled between Colorado and Mexico. Mexican skiers represent 13% of all international skiers coming to Colorado and there are 16 nonstop routes from DIA to 8 different Mexican destinations, mainly beach destinations. In addition, 5% of overall bilateral trade is made by air.