Sonora Governor Guillermo Padrés and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer hosted the 2014 Arizona-Mexico Commission Plenary Session in Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico on February 6-7, 2014. This year's theme was "Energy Transforms Arizona and Sonora." The semi-annual event serves as a platform for meaningful international collaboration between the two states, with the ultimate goal of strengthening their bilateral partnership and enhancing the economic growth and quality of life in the Arizona-Sonora region.

The Financial, Business and Legal Services Committee included several presentations, including discussion on the CANAMEX corridor and its Importance to the Arizona and Sonora Region, by Gail Lewis, Director, Office of P3 Initiatives and International Affairs, Arizona Department of Transportation; Mexican Tax Reform and its Impact on both National and Foreign Investments, by Humberto Garcia Borbon, a tax partner at Garcia Gutierrez Garagorri and Associates S.C; Mexican Tax Shelter Program as a Manufacturing Operation, by Raul Leyva, President of the Maquiladora Association of Sonora; and Energy Reform and Benefits for the Renewable Energy Sector in Mexico, by Antonio Astiazaran Gutierrez of Engeria Sonora S.C.

The presentations offered attendees a unique opportunity to better understand how government agencies, business working groups, and the private sector can work together to promote economic development, trade and investment between the States of Arizona and Sonora. The discussion led by Gail Lewis on the CANAMEX Project, a broad reaching plan with an objective of creating a direct trade route from Canada to Mexico, demonstrated the importance of the CANAMEX corridor to promotion of regional trade between Arizona and Sonora. This initiative is being supported for its development and implementation by the states en-route for this plan, which include Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The CANAMEX corridor plan has been created from carefully managed studies by various organizations and agencies. Private businesses renewed interest in highway infrastructure improvements between Nogales and Tucson, Arizona presents an excellent opportunity for increased economic development for Arizona and Sonora based businesses moving product across the U.S. / Mexican border. The improvements would also support increased tourism for both states, as travel along the highway route would be more efficient. To fully capture the potential of these improvements, infrastructure improvements along Mexican Federal Highway 15, a primary north-south highway in Mexico connecting Nogales, Arizona with many important economic centers within the State of Sonora, are also needed. Beatriz Martinez Haro, Investment Promoter with the State of Sonora, discussed this in her presentation hosted by the Arizona-Mexico Commission’s Economic Development Committee.

One of the highlights of the Plenary Session was a luncheon, which included remarks by Governors Brewer and Padrés. During the luncheon, Committee Chairs also reviewed the objectives achieved during the year by their respective committee, and the committee’s goals moving forward in 2014.