Utahns have long enjoyed Hispanic influenced traditions and spicy Mexican food, but few are aware of the opportunities Mexico holds for Utah’s business environment. The rich relationship between Utah and Mexico has resulted in an unprecedented number of events in 2014, beginning with the Mexico Business Symposium on February 10, which will build connections and provide insights into doing business in the country.

“Mexico holds significant opportunities for Utah’s economic growth,” said Harvey Scott, director of International Trade and Diplomacy for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “Currently, about $1.5 billion flows across the U.S. and Mexico border everyday, but Utah has some work to do. Our exports to Mexico are just under $500 million per year, which ranks us 37th among U.S. states exporting to Mexico.”

Strong economic relationships between Utah and Mexico exist, but there is room to build upon the current foundation. The Mexico Business Symposium, hosted by the International Trade and Diplomacy Office in GOED, will educate business leaders on what steps have and will be taken to strengthen Utah’s relationship with Mexico.

The Mexico Business Symposium will begin with Governor Gary R. Herbert announcing his 2014 trade mission to Mexico. After the Governor addresses the group, the following key leaders will weigh in:

  • Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Paul Ahlstrom, co-founder of Alta Ventures Mexico
  • Al Zapanta, president and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce
  • Consul Eduardo Arnal, Consul of Mexico base in Salt Lake City

The line-up of 2014 events range from the University of Utah’s Siciliano Forum scheduled in September to the Governor led trade mission to Mexico in April. All of these things have been made possible because Mexico recognizes the economic strength and welcoming business environment Utah has to offer. An example of this is the decision by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber to host their annual conference in Salt Lake City during the fall of 2014.

“Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment in the nation, starting up at twice the national average,” said Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “In the past decade, Hispanic firms have grown over 80 percent in the State of Utah, making Salt Lake City the natural choice for the 2014 USHCC National Convention.”

More than 5,000 companies in Utah are owned by residents who are either natives of Mexico or descendants of Mexican immigrants. Revenues of Latino-owned businesses in the state have grown 135 percent, which is three times the national average. With both cultural and business influence in the state, it makes sense why Utah has been identified by Mexico as a prime location for conferences and events.

“The robust Mexican economy, fueled by significant domestic investment, is the number two purchaser of goods,” said Paul Ahlstrom, co-founder of Alta Ventures Mexico. “With Utah’s strong cultural and business ties to the region, the state is well positioned to benefit from this alliance.”

Those interested in learning more about the opportunities Mexico presents and networking with prominent business leaders should attend the Mexico Business Seminar. Registration is free and available online at www.business.utah.gov/international.