Strategies to improve the close relationship between Mexico and California were the focus when California Chamber of Commerce representatives met recently with the new Consul General of Mexico.
Mexico Consul General Alejandra Garcia-Williams and Consul of Political Affairs Yúriko L. Garcés Lee met on January 21 with CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg and Vice President of International Affairs Susanne Stirling.
A chief topic of conversation was the hard work of Cien Amigos, the Institute of Mexicans Abroad and the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California to promote ties between Mexico, California’s top export destination, and California in the local community.
Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento
The Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento is one of 50 consular missions that the Mexican government has in the United States, providing services to the Mexican community living in the 24 Northern California Counties which comprise its jurisdiction. Its main function is to protect and defend the rights and interests of Mexicans.
Among other objectives it is responsible for encouraging stronger ties between the Mexican, Mexican-American, and Latino communities, through a series of community development programs, as well as to promote the art and the culture of Mexico, and to disseminate information that contributes to a better understanding of Mexico and the Mexican reality in the state of California.
In the last 20 years, two-way trade in goods between Mexico and the United States increased more than six-fold —from $81.4 billion in 1993 to $534.5 billion in 2014. Mexico has remained the United States’ second largest export market since 1995, with a total value of $240.3 billion in 2014.
Mexico continues to be California’s No. 1 export market, purchasing 14.6% of all California exports. California exports to Mexico amounted to $25.4 billion in 2014.
Cien Amigos is a civic action group based in Northern California providing a platform for collective planning and concrete action to encourage the mutual prosperity of Mexico and California. Cien Amigos promotes and cultivates a more accurate, comprehensive and positive image of Mexico in California and California in Mexico.
Institute of Mexicans Abroad
In 1990 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formed the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior—IME) to promote the involvement of Mexican communities abroad and provide information and services in health, education, culture and community organization.
According to its website, IME’s goal is to promote strategies, integrate programs, collect proposals and recommendations from the communities, their members, their organizations and advisory bodies designed to raise the living standards of Mexican communities abroad as well as executing the directives from the National Council for Mexican Communities Abroad.
For more information on IME or programs within your community, visit www.ime.gob.mx/.
Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California
The mission of the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California is to enrich the Sacramento area community through entertainment, education and outreach activities that preserve Mexican heritage by fostering the artistic, cultural and historical legacy of Mexico.
The Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, in partnership with Cien Amigos, IME and the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California, has been providing scholarships to Latinos in the process of applying to college and those already in college.
The purpose is to give young Latinos a jump-start to pursue a higher education degree; to support young adult Latinos as they upgrade their credentials and expand their skills by financing adult education centers; and to mobilize the community for the benefit of Latino students in northern California.
In 2015, the organization received 912 applications from the 24 participating counties. The Cien Amigos-IME Scholarship Committee unanimously approved support for 100 high school juniors and 154 undergraduates.
For more information on California-Mexico trade and investment, visit www.calchamber.com/Mexico.
Staff contact: Susanne T. Stirling