Panel talks effects on trade with China, Mexico - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

Panel talks effects on trade with China, Mexico

Trends, relationships analyzed by group

The panel discusses President Trump’s impacts on business with China and Mexico.

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia is leading the country in foreign trade and ranks 9th among states, according to data from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Last year alone, 78 percent of the state’s total trade and 96 percent of the state’s foreign investment originated from markets where the state has representation.

This is important to note because throughout President Donald Trump’s campaign, he often made references to Mexico and China, promising bold actions such as building a wall and bringing jobs back to America.

Now, with 100 days in office, various professionals met April 20 to talk about what impact the new president will have on business at The Trump Effect: the future of Georgia’s economic ties with China and Mexico event. The meeting, sponsored by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, brought together:

• Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of International Trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development

• Mike Whitacre, partner at Frazier & Deeter

• Jim Blair, managing director at Navigator Consulting

• Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta Javier Diaz de Leon

In 2016, Georgia saw $121.9 billion in merchandise trade globally, which is a 45 percent increase over the past decade, Waters said. Last year the state had $35.5 billion in exports to 214 countries and territories.

Of those, Canada, Mexico and China took the top three spots, with Canada comprising 16.35 percent, Mexico 9.86 percent and China 7.20 percent of the state’s global trade.

“There is so much value in having representatives in all these countries,” Waters said. “The folks in these countries support our state, help drive greater trade flow through the ports and are driving foreign investment to Georgia from their markets. We want to continue our relationships around the world.”

Georgia has had representation in Mexican markets since 1993, she said. In 2016, the trade between Mexico and Georgia totaled $10 billion, with $3.58 billion in exports.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for Georgia businesses in the Mexican market,” Waters said. “We need to continue to support that and look to our neighbors to the south for a diverse range of opportunities. I’m bullish on the opportunities in the future for Mexico.”

The state has had representation in China since 2007. The total trade in 2016 was $21 billion, with $2.55 billion in exports.

“I expect our relationship with China to continue to grow as they continue to put money into their infrastructure and travel,” Waters said.

Blair said despite what has been said, China has created jobs, not taken them away from America.

“We don’t have a good standing in the world right now,” Blair said. “We are a very small part of this world. People think we think we’re better than everyone else. The world is looking at us.”

Europeans think Mexico is a viable option for international trade, Blair said.

“I see danger in not educating ourselves,” Blair said. “We have to be educated before we make policies. I see risks.”

There are many businesses in the United States, China and Mexico that rely on the strong relationships already made, Diaz de Leon said.

“We share millions of products,” Diaz de Leon. “The demographics and numbers are there. We share history, families and economic prosperity with each other. It’s more than beaches and tequila. We are partners.”

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