Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Dayton aims to build on success with Mexico

Karlee Weinmann//August 14, 2015

Dayton aims to build on success with Mexico

Karlee Weinmann//August 14, 2015

Minnesota’s exports to Mexico have jumped more than 250 percent in the last decade, and Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday there’s room to match that increase in coming years.

The governor is in the middle of a trade mission to Mexico alongside a delegation of three dozen state and business leaders. The group is meeting with Mexican officials this week with an eye toward deeper trade ties and education partnerships.

So far, Dayton said on a conference call from Guadalajara, it has been the most productive trade mission since he took office. Mexico stepped into the spotlight as a primary trade partner for Minnesota businesses last year, when it leapfrogged China to become the state’s No. 2 foreign customer with $2.2 billion in exports received.

“We’ve already seen a really dramatic increase in our exports to Mexico and we should aim to double that,” Dayton said, pointing to opportunities for trade expansion in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Last year alone, Mexican exports from Minnesota surged 52 percent to $2.2 billion, according to state figures. Only Canada spent more on Minnesota-made goods, with $5.6 billion purchased in 2014.

Kathleen Motzenbecker, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office, attributed the increase to two significant changes that in recent years have reshaped Mexico’s appetite for imports and the North American trade marketplace in general.

First, North American companies and consumers are loosening their relationships with China, mainly by bringing their operations on shore and seeking out products made closer to home. Mexico’s major commercial centers are geographically closer and in the same time zone as Minnesota, making it easier to cultivate relationships and follow through on deals.

In addition, Motzenbecker said, the Mexican economy is going strong two decades after the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Purchasing power is up, stoking demand for a wider range of high-quality products.

“These are things we see on a continued trajectory. We anticipate further growth,” she said. “We want to make sure we are in good touch with our neighbors – Canada and Mexico – and we’re pleased to hear Gov. Dayton’s commitment to this.”

Minnesota’s agriculture industry will continue to be a primary growth driver as the state seeks to boost trade with Mexico.

Already, local farmers are a major supplier of soybean, corn products and wheat products into Mexico. The country last year imported grains, including soybeans and soybean flour, worth $127 million, according to state numbers, marking a 261 percent increase over the previous year.

“When people have more resources available, they invest in food and so we’re really pleased to be a major suppliers, state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said. “We have a big crop coming in and we can’t use all we produce, so export markets are incredibly important.”

Aside from work to expand trade, Dayton and the delegation – including representatives from Minnesota’s biggest colleges and universities – struck education-related agreements with Mexican officials.

Partnerships between Mexican and Minnesotan schools would broaden student and faculty exchanges and streamline research collaborations.

Top News

See All Top News

Legal calendar

Click here to see upcoming Minnesota events

Expert Testimony

See All Expert Testimony