By Todd Sanders – Contributing writer

Over the past few years, Arizona has positioned itself as a leader for international trade, making it a top priority for economic prosperity.

Since the Great Recession in the late 2000s, Arizona committed to diversifying its economy. One outcome of that strategic shift is Arizona’s largest-ever direct foreign investment by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) which began construction last year on its computer chip factory expansion in Phoenix. In its latest earnings release, TSMC reports that it expects spending between $40 billion to $44 billion on its new facilities, a substantial increase from the previously reported expected record capital spending of $35 billion in 2021.

The announcement of TSMC alone has had a significant economic impact in Arizona, but the dynamic effects of this investment are much greater. This puts Arizona at the forefront of international media reports as a smart investment with a diverse talent pool, good infrastructure, and a business-friendly regulatory environment.

With increased foreign investment, airlines are much more likely to consider more international flights from Phoenix, such as a direct flight to Asia and South America. The increased employment base is driving demand in important sectors of Arizona’s economy, such as health care, retail, financial services, and hospitality. TSMC’s investment will also lead to additional investments in education and training programs, creating a talent pipeline for current and future employers.

As Phoenix builds prosperous partnerships with Asia, more countries and global leaders are interested in creating successful business partnerships and trade opportunities with Arizona. In January, Colombia’s new ambassador to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón, made a multiday trip to Phoenix to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the United States’ diplomatic ties with that country and explore new trade opportunities between Arizona and Colombia.

As a Colombian native, I know first-hand of the rich culture, economic, and business opportunities available in Colombia and Latin America. No doubt, many of us have enjoyed Colombia’s renowned agricultural products such as coffee, avocados, and other organic, high-quality foods the country exports to Arizona and are found in local stores. But Arizona and Colombia also have great trade opportunities in industries such as IT, cybersecurity, mining, agriculture and health care.

During his visit, Pinzón met with Gov. Doug Ducey, Mayor Kate Gallego, and numerous leaders to explore opportunities that exist between Colombia and Arizona. The Chamber had the distinct opportunity to host a dinner with the ambassador, where we convened business and community leaders to discuss future trade opportunities.

During our conversation, I was encouraged to hear the ambassador’s commitment to traveling outside of Washington, D.C., to better understand and connect with American people and businesses. The ambassador is invigorated by the similar values of democracy, freedom, and free markets Arizona stands by. Regarding further discussions and prompt action on future trade opportunities, Ambassador Pinzón broached the idea of an Arizona trade mission to Colombia this year, in late spring or early summer. I look forward to this trip and am optimistic about a future trade partnership between both regions.

Arizona is already positioning itself as a heavy hitter in new business growth and international opportunity. A trade partnership with Latin America will continue this momentum and reinforce Arizona’s status as a leader and top choice for international trade.

Todd Sanders is president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by Jocelyn McAlpin