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The Value of Trade on CO’s Economy

Our mission is to put Coloradans to work in really good jobs. The reason we are good at that is because we work together throughout our state, we help develop our workforce and we value them. We invest in the right things like infrastructure (and, yes, we know we desperately need investment in our transportation system) and education, we think long-term and we think big, including globally. Some may think that global focus is more recent, but it’s been around for a while.

As a matter of fact, in 1893 our Chamber President William Byers asked Mexico’s president to appoint a consul general to Colorado. The goal was to promote trade through the growing access on rail (one of those investments delivered by the Chamber). And, within days Mexican President Porfirio Diaz and U.S. President Grover Cleveland.

Now, 125 years later, Mexico is one of Colorado’s top two trading partners – Canada is number one. Agreements like NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), approved in 1994, have only grown trade between Mexico and Colorado, reaching $2.6 billion in 2016. Mexico alone imports more that 14 percent of ALL Colorado’s exports, which means close to 88,000 Coloradans’ jobs depend on that trade. Further, Mexican companies operate 85 businesses in Colorado, providing an additional 1,400 jobs for Coloradans. Denver International Airport is key to the growing relationship we have with Mexico – you can fly direct to 10 destinations in Mexico and those flights through DEN allow Colorado companies to easily do business in Mexico and vice versa.

As discussions continue about the value of trade agreements and other aspects of our country’s relationship with Mexico, we thought it important to remind our members that our economic relationship with Mexico has existed for generations and delivers economic benefits to our state and jobs to our residents. We guarantee the Chamber will continue to work hard to ensure these opportunities for trade only grow, and we hope you will help share the facts about how important this trade relationship is and how much we value ALL our trading partners.

Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.