This week the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, working with the Rhodium Group, reported that in 2015, “Chinese investments in acquisitions, new operations, and expansions in the U.S. grew to more than $15 billion … setting a new record. The number of Chinese-affiliated companies in the U.S. exceeded 1,900 by year-end, extending across more than 80 percent of congressional districts.”
Some of that revenue made its way to the Land of Enchantment: “New Mexico received its first significant Chinese investments in 2015, including three Red Lion Hotels in Farmington, Gallup (both NM-03), and Grants (NM-02).” A broad trend that is likely to impact trade-connected jobs here is the growth of China’s middle class, which is “increasingly eager to travel overseas.”
Trade is one of the few bright spots in New Mexico’s economy. As the Albuquerque Journal reported last year, jobs related to the export of goods “more than doubled from 7,986 in 2009 to 16, 546 in 2014, which was a five-year period when overall employment in the state was down by just less than 1 percent.”
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump may hate globalization, but it’s clear that free trade offers opportunities for a state that has yet to stagger back to the economic health it enjoyed before the Great Recession. All the more reason to closely monitor the congressional delegation’s willingness to fall for protectionism’s false promises.