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Utah-Mexico Trade Mission Aims for More Business, Less Smog

Judy Fahys


Utah companies want to do business with Mexico, and more than three dozen of them are joining Governor Gary Herbert on a trade mission next week to swap ideas about improving commerce and quality of life.

Utah exports about $500 million to Mexico every year. Speaking at the Governors Economic Development Summit in Salt Lake on Thursday, Herbert said he believes there’s room to grow.

“Mexico has great potential, whether it’s in natural resource development, technology, agriculture,” he said. “And so the opportunity for us to work together with Mexico means creating more jobs here and home and creating more economic opportunity and profitability for many of our companies here.”

His trade mission will include seminars in Mexico City and Guadalajara. Business leaders from both countries will swap ideas about investments and expansions. And they’ll talk about opportunities for Utah’s growing population of Spanish-speaking residents.

A roundtable will focus on how Mexico City solved its severe pollution problems. Oliver Alfaro, an international tax manager and an organizer of the trip, says companies that want to do business in Utah are concerned about air quality.

“Nobody wants to move to a place that doesn’t have good air,” he said. “So the governor wants to make sure that the state of Utah not only has the enough of the infrastructure for businesses to come but also the quality of living.”

Mexico City had only a few days a year of clean air two decades ago. Mexican leaders decided to clean up the air, and now the air is clear most of the time. They shut down the nation’s largest refinery, and they banned driving one day a week.

Members of the Utah Clean Air Partnership will join the trade delegation to get ideas for a Utah cleanup strategy.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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