Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch led an ag delegation to Mexico this week to develop economic partnerships and strengthen ties. Prior to returning home on Thursday, Indiana State Department of Ag Director Bruce Kettler called me from the airport to update me on what he considered a very successful trip that included signing a letter of intent with the Mexican state of Hidalgo to pursue enhanced cooperation.
“Hidalgo, I think that portion of the trip was very strong and they’re very excited about follow-ups. I anticipate, frankly, probably within the next couple of weeks we’ll be having further conversation about putting specifics in place about where we can cooperate.”
I asked Kettler if the fact that the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which has already been passed by Mexico and Canada, has not yet been sent to our congress was a cloud over conversations.
“No, there was not a cloud around USMCA conversations at all. In fact, we congratulated their people here that Mexico has passed the USMCA and we told them we felt it was important that they provided that opening and gave us reason to be able to be optimistic about USMCA.”
Kettler said that the reason for the trip was to help build relationships, something incredibly important to the culture of Mexican businesses and government officials. He told me that one member of the ag delegation spent 30 minutes with a business official at a reception Monday evening and, “His comments to us as we debriefed last night was, he feels very comfortable that they will get a sale of hardwoods to this company in Mexico. Those are the kinds of outcomes that we’re hoping to be able to accomplish by doing these missions. We’ve already seen it and we haven’t even left the country yet.”
Lt. Governor Crouch concluded the trip on Thursday by meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Victor Villalobos.
Indiana was the first state in the nation to send a high-profile official delegation to Mexico, after the country’s ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in June.
“Indiana and Mexico are bound together, and not just geographically by country, but economically,” Crouch said. “This meeting was a significant moment in our long and cherished history, and I look forward to building on our conversation to take agriculture and our two economies to the Next Level.”
During the meeting, Lt. Governor Crouch and Secretary Villalobos discussed opportunities to promote trade and enhance cooperation in the areas of food production, economic development, education and technology. They also talked about the importance of sustainability, as well as the need to encourage more innovation on the farm.
“When we first learned of Secretary Villalobos’ interest in meeting with us, we were thrilled because of the doors it could open for our farmers,” Kettler said. “That’s why we’re here, and now that we have a direct connection with the highest agricultural office in Mexico, we can work towards that goal more effectively.”
Source: Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch’s Press Office