Phoenix.skyline.750pixDriving success through our economic development partnership, Phoenix Forward, has us keenly focused on growing the Greater Phoenix region by advocating for pro-business policies at all levels of government, connecting local businesses with resources and creating a motivated coalition of private and public sector entities to advance these goals.

There is one critical aspect to our economic success requiring us to look beyond Arizona. That vital piece is growing international exports.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, our Chamber, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and several other organizations worked tirelessly during the past four years to accomplish that goal.

Their efforts received national recognition on May 14 when the City of Phoenix was presented with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service, which is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can earn for making significant contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports. That is a monumental achievement, especially considering that in the 54 years since the inception of this honor, only four other cities have earned the recognition, which typically goes to companies and private sector entities.

A robust export program aligns with our Phoenix Forward objectives by enabling Phoenix businesses to add jobs, support their communities, expand their bottom lines and innovate as they discover expanded markets for their products.

In presenting the award, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker lauded Mayor Stanton’s sustained commitment to export expansion, evidenced by his 14 trade missions to Mexico, during which he signed trade agreements with his Mexican counterparts.

In case there’s any doubt on the importance of Greater Phoenix exports to our economy, consider that in 2013, our region exported $2.7 billion in merchandise to Mexico, our top trading partner, and $1.5 billion to Canada. Those exports support nearly 70,000 direct jobs.

The Metro Phoenix Export Alliance (MPEXA) is positioning Greater Phoenix to be among the top U.S. exporting regions by 2025. The success of this plan involves improving coordination, developing new resources and demonstrating that the Greater Phoenix region is the place to start and grow global companies. As the business community, it is our job to support this effort.

I fully expect to congratulate the City of Phoenix on winning the President’s “E Star” Award, which is only open to “E” Award winners that “show four years of successive export growth since winning the ‘E’ Award.”

The mayor is undoubtedly committed to increasing Phoenix and Arizona exports, and I, on behalf of the business community, applaud his dedication in achieving that goal.

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