Chris Christie News: In Mexico, New Jersey Gov. Praises President Peña Nieto
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's trip to Mexico was centered on discussions about the energy market and business ties to his state.
Recently, New Jersey has been hit with negative news ranging from being the most moved-out-of state, based on statistics from moving companies, and the loss of thousands of jobs tied to the casino industry this month.
"Earlier this afternoon, I met with dozens of Mexican companies to urge them -- as they consider where in the globe to invest, expand, and create jobs -- to 'choose New Jersey,'" Christie said Wednesday evening to business leaders at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico.
In addition, Christie announced that the state signed a partnership agreement with ConnectAmericas.com, a social media platform that connects Latin American and Caribbean enterprises with business opportunities throughout North America. The agreement makes New Jersey the first U.S. state to enter into an agreement with the platform.
And while touting his state's economy, he provided statistics to support growth.
"New Jersey's unemployment rate has dropped from 9.7 percent in January 2010 to 6.5 percent in July. In that period, our state has added nearly 150,000 private sector jobs, including 8,500 last month," Christie said.
But the goal of his visit, which he said was spurred by a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during a trip to Idaho in July, was to strengthen ties with the U.S.'s neighbor to the south for export and what he dubbed the "North American energy Renaissance."
Christie called for an end to a 1975 export ban on crude oil, as well as approval of a stalled TransCanada Corp. Keystone XL pipeline, since the U.S. is now the top oil-producing country, according to Bloomberg.
Christie highlighted the decrease on foreign oil dependency in the U.S., reaching an all-time low of 33 percent in 2013.
"Too often, our neighbors in Mexico and Canada have felt that they were an afterthought in U.S. foreign policy -- my view is that they should be our first thought.," Christie said. "The numbers underscore the depth of the U.S.-Mexican relationship. New Jersey has been a major beneficiary of that extensive U.S.-Mexican relationship."
Christie also told business leaders Wednesday that about 175,000 jobs in his state are tied to trade with Mexico, and the value of trade annually is more than $5.6 billion, making the country New Jersey's second largest export market.
Media have speculated for some time about Christie's run for a 2016 presidency, and how his visit to Mexico serves as a possible foreign relations test run.
"I have been struck so far in President Peña Nieto's term how often the President, himself a former governor, has met with the governors of U.S. states. He knows, instinctively, from his own experience, that in both of our countries the leaders of the states have a major role to play in addressing issues, forging ties, and solving problems," Christie said Wednesday.
When discussing the relationship between the two nations, Christie made no mention of the immigration issue or border security, but he did have plans to visit Puebla -- a Mexican state from which many in Mexican-Americans in New Jersey emigrated.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!