INDIANAPOLIS – Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch is networking in Mexico this week.
Her mission: To expand Indiana’s existing agricultural and tourism ties with this nation’s southern neighbor.
Crouch, who returns to Indiana Thursday, is visiting both Mexico City and the state of Hidalgo on her five-day trade mission. In a phone interview from Hidalgo, Crouch noted that Mexico is the second largest export partner for Indiana, outperformed only by Canada.
“We export over $5.4 billion to Mexico and Mexico in turn exports $4.5 billion worth of product and commodity into Indiana,” Crouch pointed out, “so they are extremely important to us.”
Crouch wants these talks to result in more business, agricultural, and education opportunities to develop through the partnerships and relationships built from this excursion.
This is already happening through a letter of intent Crouch signed with Hidalgo’s Secretary of Interior Simón Vargas Aguilar on Wednesday. This letter strengthens new business ties between the two states.
Crouch said she sees a lot of similarities between Hidalgo and Indiana.
“It’s interesting because Hidalgo, like Indiana, is located in the center of Mexico,” Crouch said, comparing it to how Indiana is in the center of the nation.
Crouch also compared the spirt of the two states.
“Indiana and the state of Hidalgo are strong in agricultural (areas),” Crouch said, “so we have very like desires and results of what we want to accomplish.”
This is not Crouch’s first time out of Indiana, as she has traveled to Canada before with similar goals of expanding opportunities there. And like any tourist, Crouch finds interesting things from the meetings and events that she remembers.
From this trip to Mexico, Crouch remembers a certain multicultural meal at that nation’s capital.
“Last night, we went to a Chinese restaurant, had Indiana duck, in Mexico City,” she said with a laugh.
This was possible through the business of Maple Leaf Farms in Leesburg, a major export of duck to Mexico as well as across North America.
That is not the only business from Indiana already in Mexico. Allison Transmission and Eli Lilly & Co. are among businesses now doing work in Mexico.
There are also 15 different businesses that are based out of Mexico that have set up in Indiana, with more on the way. Crouch said a businessman at one event told her he wants locate part of his business and production facilities in the Hoosier state.
Crouch said she’s excited about the possibility of future trade trips to different countries to help spread Hoosier business globally, but right now, there is one country that Crouch really wants to visit.
“Right now, I want to come back and visit the United States and Indiana.”
Brandon Barger is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.