As we recently celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), it’s an ideal time to look at the importance of Colorado’s relationship with Mexico and its positive economic impact. Tourism is a significant economic driver in Colorado. Both national and international travel support tourism in Colorado, and a significant number of Mexicans choose to vacation and spend their money in Colorado. In fact, in 2015, there were more than 175,000 Mexican visits to Colorado, up from around 127,000 in 2001.
Furthermore, our strong economic relationship with Mexico expands beyond tourism. Mexico is one of the United States’ largest trade partners and is the second biggest market of U.S. goods in the world. In Colorado, Mexico plays a significant role in our economy - they are Colorado’s second largest export market, and more than 105,000 Colorado jobs rely on trade with Mexico. According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, in 2015 alone, Colorado exported $1.1 billion in goods to Mexico and imported $1.7 billion in goods from Mexico.
With a growing middle class in Mexico, the demand for U.S. goods is going to keep increasing. Every year, Mexicans are buying more goods and services produced in Colorado and that is helping create more jobs and support businesses here at home. Mexican companies are also actively investing across the U.S., positively impacting the economy and creating thousands of jobs.
I recognize the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with Mexico. In 2012, I traveled with a delegation of city, state, business and community leaders – including Mayor Hancock – to Mexico City as part of an effort to strengthen economic development, tourism and cultural opportunities between our two great countries. As I noted then, given the fast growing and influential number of Mexican- Americans in our state, both immigrant and nonimmigrant, it makes sense to strengthen our international relationship. That statement is still true today. Since that trip I have worked to promote the culture and economic opportunities of the Mexican-American community in Denver.
More than 20 percent of Colorado’s five million residents are Hispanic or Latino and the vast majority – 75 percent – of this population are of Mexican descent. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanic or Latinos make up 31.8 percent of Denver’s population, and Mexican Americans make up 24.9 percent of Denver’s total population, making Denver one of the highest populations of Hispanics or Latinos.
We have a robust and thriving relationship with our neighboring country and it is my hope that we will continue to strengthen that relationship. Mexico has a strong, growing economy backed by a government committed to reform – and this partnership is mutually beneficial.
Hon. Paul D. López, Councilman
City & County of Denver District 3