Arizona State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) announced Thursday the formation of the House Committee on International Trade to help improve Arizona’s economic footprint.
“Trade is essential to Arizona’s success,” said Toma. “It fuels our state’s economic growth, generating business and job opportunities – all which is also critical for the prosperity of Arizona families. Our state has tremendous opportunity to grow our trade footprint with international partners, and that is the intention behind this new committee.”
Speaker @RepBenToma Establishes House Committee on International Trade to Grow Arizona’s Economic Footprint.
“Trade is essential to Arizona’s success,” said Speaker Toma. “It fuels our state’s economic growth, generating business and job opportunities – https://t.co/eX5ZfVUbjK… https://t.co/npnThNhI5J pic.twitter.com/SwXZXfVMYy
— Arizona House Republicans (@AZHouseGOP) February 16, 2023
According to the House Majority, aside from foreign trade and affairs, the committee is also expected to hold hearings regarding border security. Toma selected Rep. David Cook (R-Globe) as chairman to lead this new bipartisan group. Joining Cook, Toma also appointed State Representatives Leo Biassucci (R-Lake Havasu), Tim Dunn (R-Yuma), Melody Hernandez (D-Tempe), Mariana Sandoval (D-Goodyear), and Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton (D-Tucson) to serve as members.
“Arizona’s economy is built on trade, with thousands of companies both large and small exporting billions in American-made goods to international markets every year,” said Cook. “These exports support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Arizonans. There is huge potential to expand and open new international trade partnerships if the state is willing to prioritize it. I appreciate Speaker Toma for establishing this new committee and entrusting me as its chairman.”
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to Cook and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) for additional comments but did not hear back before press time.
As reported by The Sun Times, Cook led a bipartisan group of legislators to Brazil in December. The excursion aimed to expand Arizona’s relationship with the county by meeting with business leaders and attending trade fairs. Following the trip, the group of legislators said they were “very optimistic” about Arizona’s future with Brazil. Additionally, the ACA said it would be willing to work with the legislature to increase Arizona’s foreign trade momentum.
Brazil is Arizona’s ninth-largest import partner, with imports to the state totaling $707 million in 2021. According to Global EDGE, Arizona’s other most prominent import and export partners include Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. In 2020, Arizona’s total international imports totaled over $25 billion.
According to a 2022 report from Chamber Business News, Arizona’s international trade is growing, especially with Mexico. The Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC), a group of binational committees working for mutual prosperity, has played a significant role in this success by bringing new ideas and opportunities to Arizona businesses.
“As a result of our global economy initiatives, Arizona companies are exposed to products or ideas that may have never been thought of if our state didn’t have the opportunity to trade internationally,” said Jessica Pacheco, President of the AMC. “In essence, these companies can build on these ideas to create additional product sets or service solutions, thus making the marketplace more diverse, providing customers with more options.”
Additionally, Pacheco said Arizona’s success with foreign companies stems from leaders who have made the state welcoming and business-friendly. She said maintaining this environment is curtail for continuing prosperity.
Moreover, in Arizona business news, the ACA shared that global semiconductor provider, HyRel Technologies (HRT), has commenced operations of its manufacturing facility in Peoria. The facility will bring 50 new jobs to the area, and Founder Brian Watson said HRT would also bring Arizona students hands-on education and internship opportunities.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ben Toma” by Ben Toma. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Pima County Public Library.