Representatives from Washington state, including Gov. Jay Inslee, will participate in a trade mission to Mexico later this month.The delegation of about 40 people will visit Guadalajara, Jalisco and Mexico City from May 15 through May 19.
Participants include the governor, representatives from the state departments of Commerce and Agriculture, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, local business leaders and other government representatives.
“Washington state has a long history of trade and cultural ties with Mexico. States are currently playing an increasingly important role in maintaining and growing important relationships with our international trade partners,” Inslee said.“Washington farmers and food producers rely on exports to keep our state’s farms, ranches and food processors strong to grow our economy and create jobs.”
“Mexico is an important trading partner for Washington agriculture and a key market for many of our commodities,” said Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison. “Last year, Mexico imported $313 million of Washington’s food and agriculture products. I am eager to join Gov. Inslee, Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and the other delegates in demonstrating just how much we value our customers in Mexico and the trade relationships we enjoy.”
The agriculture delegation will be composed of dairy industry representatives.
For Washington’s agricultural sector, Mexico is a valuable and important trading partner:
- Washington ships more dairy products to Mexico than to any other country. Mexico imported $72 million worth of Washington dairy products in 2016.
- Overall, Mexico was the seventh-largest export market for all Washington state food and agricultural products in 2016.
- Mexico is a top market for several Washington products, including apples, hop extract, malt and tallow.
“Global demand for protein-rich dairy is rising,” said Scott Kinney, CEO of the Dairy Farmers of Washington.“That’s good news because dairy exports create Washington jobs and lift the state’s economy. In fact, dairy exports alone represent $317 million in economic impact to our state. The Dairy Farmers of Washington are proud to join Gov. Inslee’s delegation to Mexico — one of our biggest export partners.”
“Regions of the world where cooperation and cross border engagement is strong have prospered by doing so. Mexico is among the top destinations for Washington state products and services. Our trade relationship increases both economic activity and regional stability. The healthier that relationship, the more it helps strengthen communities throughout North America,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.
The trade mission will start May 15 in Guadalajara, where Washington delegates will meet with Jalisco government officials. A representative in Mexico for the Washington Apple Commission and Northwest Cherries Association will lead delegates on a tour and hold meetings with representatives of a Mexican wholesale produce market.
The delegation will travel to Mexico City May 17 for meetings with the North American regional director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Latin America deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration. The delegation plans to hold a series of discussions on the North American Free Trade Agreement and meet with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the ministries of Economy and Energy.
Inslee will join the delegation May 19 when he will meet with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray, Secretary for the Environment Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Secretary of Agriculture José Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa and U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, and other high ranking government officials.
Inslee and Videgaray intend to sign a memorandum of understanding on clean energy.
Inslee, Sandison and Bonlender will hold a phone briefing for Washington state and national media on Friday, May 19th at 1:30 PM (pacific). Media should RSVP to Chase Gallagher at email@example.com to receive the call-in information.