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International trade can boost economy

This June, I led a joint delegation from the state of New Mexico and the city of Las Cruces on a trade mission to Taiwan to promote New Mexico and explore opportunities for increased trade.

The delegation included Gary Camarano, economic development coordinator for the city of Las Cruces; David Dollahon, director of community and cultural services for Las Cruces; and Mark Van Dyke, my chief of staff.

During our visit, we met with more than 20 companies with expressed interest in U.S. markets, as well as a dozen trade associations and government trade organizations.

Since establishing sister-state relations in 1985, New Mexico and Taiwan have developed a strong, mutually beneficial economic relationship, and during the course of our trade mission we were able to tell our New Mexico story to new and potential partners.

The initial response was surprising, yet encouraging. As it turns out, New Mexico is one of the best-kept secrets in North America. The good news is that as we relayed the incentives to do business in New Mexico and described our vast natural resources, the prospective Taiwanese businesses were noticeably impressed.

New Mexico’s selling points are well known to those of us who have witnessed and experienced the economic growth of the past few years.

Under the leadership of Gov. Susana Martinez, our state has led the nation in export-related job growth, and, in 2014, we set a record high of $3.8 billion in exports. It is worth noting that for every $1 billion in exports, an estimated 6,250 jobs are created or supported.

While impactful, we believe these gains are really just the beginning.

After lowering taxes 35 times, investing in infrastructure, attracting new businesses, and passing legislation to make New Mexico competitive in an increasingly global market, we are now looking for even greater gains in the near future. Just last year, Taiwan experienced a 65 percent increase in trade with New Mexico and they are now the eighth-largest beneficiaries of our exports.

In addition to these economic advances, New Mexico has far too many homegrown resources to be overlooked.

As a nation that imports 99 percent of its agricultural needs, Taiwan companies were amazed to learn that in addition to being the 5th largest energy supplier in the U.S., New Mexico is also the 5th largest dairy producer.

Meanwhile, our foundational ties to the aviation and aerospace industry position New Mexico as a competitor around the world in recruiting technology and manufacturing companies hungry for U.S. markets.

Add to these facts the existence of our two national laboratories and world-class research universities, and the potential for educational exchange and increased trade is unlimited.

We believe these exchanges also extend to tourism. Through increased cultural and economic ties, the people of Taiwan are ready to learn more about New Mexico and many will want to visit.

I am aggressively following up with all of our interested Taiwanese business contacts. We invited a number of businesses to join us this fall in California at the National Aerospace Foreign Direct Investment Expo.

As a member of the Aerospace States Association, my office will join Spaceport America and representatives from municipalities, airports, and aviation and aerospace companies looking to attract investments from foreign companies. From there, we are inviting these businesses and investors to travel to New Mexico and bring investments and jobs with them.

Later this year, I will also be traveling to Germany with the National Lieutenant Governors Association to promote international trade.

Over the next few years, I will continue to pursue these and other opportunities to help bring jobs to this state.

Governor Martinez and I are committed to aggressively promoting New Mexico not only as the “Land of Enchantment,” but also as the land of opportunity and international economic success.

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