By Brian E. Clark
Gov. Jim Doyle said Friday morning he hopes his weeklong trade mission to Mexico will result in increased sales of industrial and agricultural products to that Latin American country.
“Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector is coming back,” Doyle said in a telephone interview from Mexico City. “And trips like this can help ensure that there will be developing markets for our products.”
The trade mission is the third for Doyle, who went to China and Japan last year. He was accompanied by several dozen business leaders, many of whom had numerous meetings with their Mexican counterparts.
The governor said one of the main thrusts of the mission was to create more jobs in Wisconsin, but he said how many new positions are generated
may not be known until later this year.
“Mexico needs sophisticated machining and workmanship for its assembly plants,” he said. “And Wisconsin is known around the world for our fine
work in those areas.”
According to the governor’s office, Wisconsin exports to Mexico grew by 35 percent last year, for a total of $1.06 billion. The state’s overall exports reached $13 billion in 2004, up 10 percent from 2003.
He noted that the Grafton-based Tecumseh Products recently signed a deal to sell 3,000 small engines to Valsi, a Mexican company.
“We make products that go into manufacturing itself,” Doyle said. “Small engines is an area for real growth for us. They are needed all over the world for final assembly of basic manufactured goods.”
Doyle said he visited the first Harley Davidson dealership to open in Mexico and helped celebrate its 75th anniversary. He noted that the Mexico City Police Department is the world’s largest single buyer of Harleys.
“Harley is a signature product for Wisconsin and represents much of what we are trying to project,” he said. “It is high-end manufacturing and is universally recognized. It really demonstrates the essence of Wisconsin manufacturing.”
Doyle also met with business leaders and toured factories and dairies, some of which have equipment and cows from Wisconsin. He said several of
the dairy operators with whom he spoke had received training in the Badger State.
“They said they would rather do business with Wisconsin than California because it is easier to make contacts here, easier to deal with our ag school and our agricultural geneticists.
“The spoke glowingly of Wisconsin,” he said. “They told me we are more accessible, that the quality of Wisconsin companies products is high and
that we deliver on time.”
Doyle said he spoke with Mexican President Vicente Fox for nearly an hour this week about trade and immigration issues, and Doyle reiterated his
opposition to denying driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
“We talked about how the economies of Mexico and Wisconsin fit together and the need for Mexico to import more industrial equipment,” said Doyle, who noted that Fox spent a high school year in the Badger State.
The governor also said he met with Mexico’s secretary of agriculture to discuss genetics and how Wisconsin can help improve Mexico’s dairy industry.
Doyle and his entourage spent time in Jalisco, Wisconsin’s sister state in Mexico. Doyle said the University of Guadalajara and the UW system have agreed to increase exchanges of students, researchers and faculty.