Sep 062013

By Nick Worth
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and a delegation of government officials recently returned from a weeklong trip to India, where she spent time talking up the potash mining potential in the state.
Brewer was unavailable for comment, but according to the governor’s website page on the visit, “The purpose of the trade mission was to promote Arizona’s increasingly competitive business climate, expand investment opportunities and foster a long-term relationship with an emerging and valued trading partner,” Brewer said. “The intent of this mission is to make the case for doing business in the Grand Canyon State.”
While in India, Brewer had talks with business leaders and Indian governmental officials. Among the topics were the solar manufacturing industry, aerospace industry, high tech companies, tourism and potash.
Brewer said she met with people who had the financial ability to invest in Arizona businesses, which would provide more jobs in the state.
India is recognized as the world’s second astest growing economy and is the most rapidly growing market for United States exporters. At present, it is a Top-25 trading partner to Arizona, with more than $81 million in exports in 2012.
Brewer said she recognizes the important potential that exists to increase Indian investment in our state.
“To remain competitive and ensure Arizona’s economic vitality, we must forge and secure strong partnerships beyond Arizona and the United States,” said the governor. “In an increasingly booming global market, India is a key country in which to court international investment. Several states have recently begun to avidly pursue relations with India–I’m thrilled Arizona is on the leading edge of that venture.”
Brewer is not the only one pleased with the delegation’s efforts.
“We’re pleased that the governor is reaching out to international markets,” said Ken Bond, head of corporate development for Passport Potash, which is working to develop a mine in the Holbrook Basin. “It helps to generate exposure and awareness of what the state of Arizona can provide, particularly with potash.”
Bond said having the governor expressing support for the mining operation is invaluable.
“As we go and talk with companies and state-owned entities in various countries around the world, one of the major things they consider is the mining climate, as far as political jurisdictions,” Bond said. “The governor reaching out and being proactive and indicating a willingness and desire to work with other countries removes one of the major uncertainties.”
Bond noted that even though a country may have a great resource, if the political environment is not right, it will not work.
“Companies willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars want some assurances,” Bond said. “I think it’s beneficial for the whole state.”
He added “We’ve been cultivating relationships with a number of entities in India for several years. We’re very happy she discussed potash while she was there.”
Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, remarked on the web page that trade between Arizona and India has been on the rise.
“With exports from Arizona to India recently up 78 percent, India represents an emerging market and area of significant opportunity,” said Watson.
“Arizona deeply values its relationship with India, and recognizes the potential for meaningful and mutual business investment,” said Brewer.