Joint trip can open doors | Tech Parks Arizona

Joint trip can open doors

Published by: The Arizona Republic 

February 16. 2014

When it comes to international relations, business savvy is better than political sass. That hasn't always been Gov. Jan Brewer's approach to Mexico, but she's doing the state a favor now by working with her Mexican counterpart on economic development. The plan for Brewer and Sonoran Gov. Guillermo Padres to travel to Israel fits into a budding renaissance of our state's relationship with Mexico. It's all about seeing our southern neighbor as an asset and valuable business partner. With that kind of vision, a door swings open to vast opportunities. Brewer and Padres have accepted an invitation to travel to Israel to meet with companies interested in establishing operations in our region. Get that: our region. Walls don't make good neighbors, partnerships do. As a border state, Arizona has natural advantages worth developing. Israel is reportedly interested in establishing economic relationships with Mexico, and Arizona is a gateway to the U.S. market. Israeli products manufactured in China don't enjoy that benefit. The complementary resources in Arizona and Sonora can be attractive to Israel's large number of technology companies and tech startups. It isn't just about cheap labor in Mexico. These are companies working in high-skill fields such as aerospace, defense, and renewable and solar energy. Brewer's office says the research and development capabilities of the University of Arizona are a big draw, as well as expertise in commercialization. The intent, Brewer's office says, is to attract companies that want to enter the North American market with new products in areas such as security, biotech and agribusiness. This effort to recruit technology companies grows out of a partnership between the UA Tech Park and Offshore Group that's called Global Advantage. The UA research facility consists of 2 million square feet of office and laboratory space and 7,000 workers, and it includes a focus on developing border-related technology. This allows research and development to happen in Tucson. Offshore Group operates manufacturing facilities in the Mexican states of Sonora and Coahuila. This provides the opportunities to manufacture in Mexico without opening a plant. Selling mutually complementary assets on the global marketplace will create jobs and benefit the economies of both Arizona and Sonora. But to make it work in a long-lasting way, Arizona needs infrastructure worthy of an international gateway. Our congressional delegation needs to secure adequate staffing for the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. Arizona needs to find resources to improve the state route that leads from the border to Interstate 19. The state also needs to aggressively pursue a new north-south Interstate 11 corridor linking the border to the Hoover Dam bypass and points north. All of this starts with a vision of the possibilities of being a border state. As Brewer moves boldly in that direction, she is joining municipal leaders in Phoenix and Tucson, as well as members of the Legislature, who recognize the potential.


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