California Legislature Passes Bill to Establish California Trade Office in Mexico City
San Diego, CA – September 13, 2017 – A bill authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) that would instruct the director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to establish an international trade and investment office in Mexico has passed both houses of the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, and is now heading to the Governor’s office for his signature or veto.
Senator Hueso, who serves as Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, joined Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León in introducing the bill, which was co-authored by Senators Ben Allen, Steven Bradford, Connie Leyva, and Tony Mendoza. The bill would require the Mexico City trade and investment office to promote the export of California goods and services into Mexico, and facilitate access to educational exchange programs between California and Mexico, among other things.
“Given the uncertain message from the current federal Administration regarding the importance of our trading partnership with Mexico, it is vital that California open and maintain and ongoing presence in Mexico City to reassure their civic and business leaders that the people of California value our trade relationship and an open dialogue,” Hueso stated.
California has the sixth largest economy in the world, which has positioned the state as a leading trade and investment partner. In 2016 alone, California goods exports accounted for $163.6 billion in economic activity. Customers in more than 228 countries worldwide buy California-grown and manufactured goods and services. Top markets include Mexico, Canada, and China, which buy billions of dollars of California products annually. This presents an immense global opportunity since more than 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside of the United States.
In 2016, Mexico was ranked as the 12th largest economy in the world and one of the largest economies in Latin America. As Mexico is one of California’s top markets, establishing an office focused on international trade and investment will only strengthen the relationship between California by creating opportunity for economic development and capital investment, and facilitating access to educational exchange programs. In 2015 alone, California exports supported 706,969 jobs with 692,240 California jobs being supported by trade with Mexico.
The bill has garnered widespread support from the business community, with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce as its main sponsor.
“Our economy benefits greatly from a close working relationship with Mexico’s business community and we see the value this binational relationship brings in terms of new jobs, which is why the San Diego Chamber is proud to sponsor SB357,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The absence of a California trade office in the country of our top export market means we are missing a significant investment opportunity and putting businesses throughout the state at a disadvantage.”
To encourage grassroots support for SB 357, the San Diego Regional Chamber has launched a digital advocacy campaign encouraging the business community to write Governor Brown and urge his support of the legislation. Those interested in participating in the campaign can do so at www.sdchamber.org/take-action.
“By opening a trade office in the commercial and political capital of Mexico, this bill would strengthen the California economy and contribute to the prosperity both of the American and Mexican people,” said Hueso.