My first impressions of Mexico City as part of Governor Brown’s trade mission were a sensory overload. From the vibrant colors and artistry of the flower market within Mercardo de Jamaica, to the unbelievable aromas drifting blocks away from the Pasteleria Ideal bakery, Mexico has a rich cultural society that, like California, has a strong connection to food and farming.
It is this connection that makes Mexico an essential market for trade and greater economic cooperation. Mexico is California’s largest export market, and it is not surprising that the U.S. is Mexico’s largest trading partner. What happens on both sides of our shared border is vastly important for businesses in California and Mexico. The Governor’s trade mission to Mexico is an opportunity to further build these connections and to increase cooperation between our governments and the private sector.
Within agriculture, we have several issues that we would like to discuss with the Mexican government – but we must first build upon our already strong relationships and seek opportunities for further collaboration. That is why we have several individuals traveling on the Governor’s trade mission representing the agricultural sector. We have trade organizations representing organic products, pistachios, tree fruit, wine and raisins. We also have private farming and food companies interested in expanding trade and learning more about Mexico’s market dynamics. State Board of Food and Agriculture president Craig McNamara and board members Bryce Lundberg and Joy Sterling are also joining us to demonstrate the importance of our government-to-government relationship.
In the days ahead I look forward to meeting with SAGARPA (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food), Wal-Mart, and the National Association of Supermarkets and Department Stores. We will also visit the Central de Abastos – the largest food wholesale market in Mexico City.
Sunday, our first day in Mexico, was a memorable experience. We saw the agricultural trade channels and various market outlets in action – demonstrating that we have much in common and can learn a great deal from each other. I’m excited about the shared market possibilities ahead for California and Mexico.