When Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos stepped onto the podium Tuesday for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Leaders in Government Series luncheon, he opened with two simple words for the audience: “Buenas tardes.”
The “Good afternoon” greeting in Spanish tied in with Cascos’ key topic: Texas’ relationship with Mexico.
One of Mexico’s concerns is the misconception that travel to Mexico is unsafe, Cascos said.
“There are cities within Mexico that are safe to go to, but there’s also cities that are not safe to go to, much like we have here,” he said.
Cascos said a good relationship with Mexico is vital to the Texas economy.
“Not only do we share a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, but at least in my part of the world—me, myself and I—we share a culture,” he said. “We share customs. We share friendship. But more importantly, we share economic trade.”
Mexico is Texas’s largest trading partner, receiving one third of Texas’s exports.
“Jobs in this community rely on the relationship we have with Mexico,” he said. “That has to be reconciled and recognized.”
Still, Mexico has issues that can’t be ignored, such as drug cartel violence and the border crisis, Cascos said.
Although Mexico’s plans to implement energy reforms may not do much to alleviate the border issues, Cascos said the reforms might create more economic opportunity for both Mexico and Texas.
Mexico had previously closed off doing business with foreign oil and gas competitors and investors. Beginning July, the country will begin allowing foreign companies back, in hopes of revitalizing the economy.
For more information on doing business with Mexico:
Cascos said Mexico’s economic success is directly related to success in Texas.
“I believe that we’re going to prosper,” Cascos said. “If Mexico does well, we’re going to do well, and vice versa.”
But to better understand what is happening around the border, Cascos said people should go see the border themselves.
“Sometimes you have people at the federal and state level that are making decisions about the border that have never been to the border,” he said. “Go to the border. Visit the border.”
Cascos is currently visiting business leaders around Texas for the Down to Business Tour, with Houston, El Paso and Nacogdoches among cities visited. Tuesday morning before the luncheon, he met with CEOs in Dallas.
“What I take away from every group that I meet is just the enthusiasm that I’m hearing, the confidence that they have in the Texas economy,” he said. “They’re agreeing that Texas is a great place to do business. It’s a great climate.”
The event took place at the Petroleum Club in downtown Fort Worth.