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Salt Lake City— Governor Gary R. Herbert, working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s International Trade and Diplomacy Office, began leading representatives from more than two dozen Utah companies on a trade mission to Mexico.
This trade mission, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, is planned to let Utah companies see where business opportunities in Mexico exist and facilitate networking with key government officials and industry experts. Mexico’s economy has realized sustained growth, especially in its high-tech, medical device, aerospace and transportation manufacturing industries. With current deregulation policies, new opportunities are opening up for private companies, particularly in the areas of energy and telecommunications.
Approximately $1.5 billion in trade crosses the U.S.-Mexico border on a daily basis. The U.S. exports more to Mexico than to all of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries combined. Utah exports about $500 million annually, and this trade mission is intended to capitalize on new investment opportunities and build an even stronger trade relationship with one of the state’s closest neighbors.
In the lead-up to the Mexico trade mission, the Impact Hub Salt Lake City organized their inaugural “Innovation Lab,” titled A Breath of Fresh Air, to discuss ways Utah’s entrepreneurial community can collaborate and innovate to curb pollution and improve air quality. Impact Hub houses an innovation lab and event venue that provides a forum to unite for-profit and non-profit organizations to create innovative and technological solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. The relevance of the topic of air quality to the Governor's Mexico Trade Mission is paramount, as Mexico City is a premier example of improving air quality.
With geography similar to Salt Lake City, Mexico City was named the most polluted city in the world by the United Nations in 1990. Instead of making excuses, Mexico residents and politicians decided to act. More than twenty years later, despite continued growth, Mexico City has cut its pollution components at least in half and went from three clear air days a year to more than two hundred and fifty.
As a key part of the Mexico Trade Mission, Ted Wilson, executive director of Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR), Michelle Hofmann from Breathe Utah and the Governor’s staff are organizing an environmental roundtable discussion with air quality experts and Mexican officials at the Impact Hub in Mexico City. Joining the meeting will be WAVE Technologies, Inc., a Utah State University technology spin-out, working with the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR), who is addressing the issue of carbon-emitting buses. The technology being developed will wirelessly charge a vehicle’s battery from a charging pad located under the road surface.
The environmental roundtable will provide the Utah delegation with the opportunity to learn from leaders who have successfully implemented clean air practices and return with new ideas for improving air quality in the state. A follow-up meeting will occur at Impact Hub in Salt Lake City to produce a strategy for implementing these new ideas.
In addition to addressing environmental issues, the business delegation will take part in two different investment seminars in both Mexico City and Guadalajara—Mexico’s second largest city. More than 20 Mexican investors and business owners in each city will hear from Gov. Herbert and local businesses promoting Utah as a location for expansion opportunities in the U.S. The end goal of these meetings is to attract investment and promote economic collaboration between Utah and Mexico. Over the course of the three days, the group will meet with two federal ministers, two state governors and three mayors.
The participating companies on the Mexico Trade Mission include the following: