David Farca, president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission will talk about Arizona’s trade and economic relationship with Mexico, his vision for the AMC, and more.
JOSE CARDENAS: The mission of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the AMC, is to improve economic prosperity and quality of life for Arizonans through trade and networking. Joining me now to talk about Arizona's relationship with Mexico when it comes to trade, economics, and more is David Farca, president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. David, welcome back to "Horizonte." We've had you on before.
DAVID FARCA: Thank you for having me.
JOSE CARDENAS: You were wearing your hat as Super Bowl committee member. In some respects, this is similar. One of the things you were in charge then was the relationship with Mexico and now, it's another official role. Talk to us about one of the first things you were involved in which was Governor Ducey's trip to Mexico.
DAVID FARCA: Sure. One of the things that I've talked about with the Arizona-Mexico Commission is that we need to stop talking about Mexico and start talking to Mexico. So one of the things when I talked to Governor Ducey was, it was really imperative to just go down there and meet the different parties involved and really be the forefront of the efforts towards Mexico. Hard to believe that Mexico is our number one trading partner, an Arizona governor hadn't been to Mexico City in about a decade.
JOSE CARDENAS: And times have been tough, at least the relationships have been strained recently. How was he received?
DAVID FARCA: He was received really well. It was an incredible reception. They really extended the red carpet for him. And it really showed how little it takes of an outreach for them to open their arms completely. We had a visit where he met with top government officials from all legislative powers. We met with about 20 of the top 35 business people from the country. It was really designed almost like a head of state visit rather than a governor visit.
JOSE CARDENAS: And I assume this is the first of many trips, both by the governor and Mexico and vice versa. What would you say were the most significant accomplishments from this first visit?
DAVID FARCA: First of all, it's just establishing that conversation, not only between governments but including private industry. We went down with 40 business leaders from Arizona. The intention there was when we met with business leaders in Mexico we could talk peer to peer. It wasn't government officials trying to promote business to business entities. It was peer to peer, talking about their experiences about doing business in Arizona and having that conversation about how can they increase their own business rather than the governor trying to guess how to do it.
JOSE CARDENAS: The Arizona-Mexico Commission has its sister commission there. Talk about that relationship with Sonora and I know we have a new governor there, she won the election, she'll be taking office later this year and the significance of that.
DAVID FARCA: Yeah. The Arizona-Mexico Commission started really 56 years ago in extending that vision towards our neighboring state of Sonora. The relationship with Sonora has been great throughout the years. It's had its ups and downs, just like many organizations but it's been a model that has tried to be recreated throughout the U.S. So there's very close ties there. There's a lot of things that we have in common. So, as you mentioned, one of the priorities for the commission is Sonora. We do have a new governor elect which historically, it's the first woman elected to the state in Sonora. She has some background in politics and we're very excited about that relationship with Arizona.
JOSE CARDENAS: Her mother was herself a prominent politician, unusual in Mexico, but established quite a name for herself. In fact, tell us her name.
DAVID FARCA: Claudia Pavlovich, she takes office in September but she's already reached out to Governor Ducey. They had lunch together recently. So the conversation already started. It's already within her transition team to have that relationship as a priority, which is really exciting.
JOSE CARDENAS: Now, Pavlovich is not your typical Spanish surname. There's some history there that's quite fascinating about people from Yugoslavia in Arizona and Sonora.
DAVID FARCA: Exactly. Many, many years ago there were migrants coming from Yugoslavia to the region basically to work on the mines and that's where you had all the Pavlovich and other names established in the region and you have them on both sides of the border. Most of them have that type of last name and they're related.
JOSE CARDENAS: She herself has close ties to Arizona. So it's not her first trip to Arizona.
DAVID FARCA: Not at all. Very close ties both personally and loves to travel with her family, her husband is in the cattle industry and has business with Arizona cattlers. So it's been a long-standing relationship.
JOSE CARDENAS: Last question. What's your vision for the future of the Arizona-Mexico Commission and what it can do to improve relationships between Arizona and Mexico?
DAVID FARCA: Well, first of all, it's including private industry. We can't have a conversation without private industry being included on it. At the same time, we have to follow what the state is really already doing, which is reaching out beyond Sonora. Our relationship with Sonora is great and will continue to be fantastic but we have to see beyond Sonora, as well. So there is a restructuring that we're doing with just focusing on the different markets. Mexico as a country has a middle class with a purchasing power that's larger than the entire population of Canada. So it's a consumer market for businesses in Arizona that's extremely attractive. There's a lot of opportunities, a lot of changes that have happened in the judicial system, in the energy sector, and those are great opportunities for Arizona businesses to take advantage of.
JOSE CARDENAS: Well, David, congratulations on your appointment and thank you so much for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about your vision for the AMC. Thank you.
David Farca:President of the Arizona-Mexico Commission