As the mayors of our region’s largest cities, we travel often to promote the virtues of Dallas and Fort Worth on the global stage.
The international trip we embark on to Mexico City today (Sunday) carries great significance due to its multifaceted nature. This first-time DFW trade mission is a multilayered trip to promote economic, cultural and diplomatic ties between North Texas and our neighbor to the south.
We are strong proponents of regional growth and Mexico is an essential part of that strategy. Consider this:
• Demonstrating our intertwined economies, more than a third of total Texas trade is with Mexico. It topped $178 billion in 2015 – $94.5 billion in exports to Mexico and $83.5 billion in imports from Mexico.
• In 2015, Mexico was DFW’s 13th largest goods trading partner with $1.3B spent in total trade.
• On tourism and aviation, Mexico is DFW’s biggest international market. Six airline carriers serve 19 destinations from DFW to Mexico, generating an economic impact of more than $1 billion for our region.
• In 2014, about 15,000 Mexican students were studying at American universities, 44 percent of them were in Texas schools.
Mexico is Latin America’s second largest economy, paced by the technology and energy industries. These sectors and others provide opportunities for investment in both directions.
A sustainable partnership with Mexico only serves to better the interests of DFW. Investors across the country see this, too. Mexico is the 7th-fastest growing investor country in the U.S., providing opportunities for bi-lateral foreign direct investments.
Equally important is the significance of the existing Mexican culture in our society. Dallas-Fort Worth has the 6th-highest Hispanic population among U.S. metropolitan areas.
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are part of the fabric of our society in Dallas-Fort Worth and we seek to honor and respect them on this trip. From our personal meetings with local business, civic and government leaders, we will be bringing our region and Mexico closer together – economically and politically.
We have a positive, business-friendly story to tell in encouraging more Mexican companies to establish their North American headquarters in DFW. And, we have corporate leaders in Fort Worth and Dallas who want to deepen their ties with investors, policy-makers and partners in Mexico.
This visit also gives us the chance to enhance DFW’s beneficial relationships with Mexico in the arts, cultural and educational fields.
For example, the Fort Worth Opera has launched a historic, multi-year series featuring Spanish-language operas, creative partnerships with Mexican artists and community education programs. The program, with support from the Mexican Consulate, called “Noches de Ópera”, will feature the 2017 DFW premier of “Cruza la Cara de la Luna” (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”) with music by the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán.
Additionally, Southern Methodist University has established a Texas-Mexico program at the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies to research and promote policy-based discussions on economic, political and social ties. Dallas-based GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation, provided the key $1 million grant that created this important new program.
During our trip, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, in partnership with the Baroque International Museum and the State Council for Culture and the Arts of Puebla, Mexico, will announce a major exhibition coming to this region next September. Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles will showcase nearly 200 objects from the extensive collection at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City.
As mayors and representatives of our two cities, we are carrying a unified message: that mutual cooperation and understanding will bring economic success to both sides of the border. Our hope is that the ideas and contacts exchanged now will provide the inspiration and pathway to keep those efforts flourishing.