WisBusiness: Doyle Talks Trade with Mexican President

Gov. Jim Doyle and Mexican President Vicente Fox met Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from immigration to environmental standards to manufacturing equipment exports.

Mexico is Wisconsin’s second largest export market, up 35 percent since 2003 to $1.06 billion. More than 20 percent of Wisconsin exports to Mexico are industrial machinery, followed by electrical machinery (19 percent), paper products (11 percent), and transportation equipment (8 percent).

The governor said that both countries could benefit from greater trade, and urged the Mexican government to work with Wisconsin to overcome trade barriers. Doyle encouraged President Fox to move Mexico toward uniform import standards so that Wisconsin companies aren’t blocked from market access by wide variation in local ordinances.

Doyle also said in addition to expanding trade in dairy equipment, Wisconsin companies are interested in expanding the state’s specialty cheese market.

“We are really trying to make sure we … are producing a cheese that is attractive to the tastes of Mexico,” he said, alluding to the existence of several specialty “spicy” cheeses the state produces.

Doyle also signed a sustainable forestry agreement this week with Mexican Secretary of the Environment, Alberto Cárdenas, and the governor of the Mexican state of Chiapas, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía. This agreement will initiate cooperation between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state of Chiapas to pursue sustainable forestry and fire prevention plans. In 2004, the EPA and the Mexican Secretary of the Environment began discussions with DNR officials and Chiapas officials in charge of forest issues.