Tucson & Nogales seek smoother border trade
Reporter: Craig Smith
NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - There's a good chance some of the money in your pocket came through Mexico by way of Nogales. Friday, Tucson's mayor headed south for a visit to learn how Tucson and Nogales can team up to make everyone better off.
Lots of people and cargo come through Nogales ports of entry. The cargo fuels jobs, so do the people when they spend in stores and restaurants. But business people in Nogales hope teaming with Tucson can help those people and their money come to Southern Arizona more easily.
More Customs agents are number one on the wish list. Theres not enough to check people and cargo without long backups. One of Nogales ports of entry will have a major expansion soon but without more agents the extra lanes won't mean much.
There's a real catch 22 that prevents hiring more agents and reducing the logjams. Customs works on fees collected when cargo and people cross the border. If the backups discourage crossings there's less money to hire agents.
Leaders in the produce industry say unless there's help to cut delays or produce trucks that keep Nogales warehouses humming will use new highways opening in Mexico to bring cargo through Texas instead.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild met with Nogales leaders to find ways to work together to build up both cities.
He says he'll do what he can to encourage Washington to hire more Customs agents and help Mexican money make it into Arizona cash registers.
" To get them up intp our town to shop to go to our restaurants to go to our resorts and just to do the business of trade."
And while most people think of Nogales port as a channel for fruit and vegetables there much more to the cross border trade including potential to revive factories in Mexico as companies shift back from China.
City of Tucson Business Advocate Maricela Solis says, "There's also opportunity because we get border commerce, we get international trade and we are working on it with our congressional delegation. We are working on this with our state delegation as well."
Nogales Sonora has a major housing boom for places for workers to live. That's good for Arizona because Arizona companies help supply those factories and workers come to Southern Arizona to spend their pay.