A hot economy has been boosting trade back and forth between Arizona and Mexico. As pandemic restrictions lifted, pent up demand is just one factor that pumped up cross border trade.

Most people think of produce when they think of cross border trade with Mexico but there is much more to it than that and it has really been growing in the first part of this year.

Workers with forklifts zip around the warehouse floor at Chamberlain Distributing moving fresh fruit from Mexico to get it ready to head to the store, then to your table.

Owner Jaime Chamberlain says Mexican fruits and vegetables used to have a six month season but Mexican agriculture has expanded to make it a year round business.

Produce is part of the power behind border business so strong it was worth $9.3 billion dollars in the first three months of this year. The University of Arizonas Eller College of Management says thats a 7.5 percent increase over the same time last year.

Chamberlain keeps an eye on the total trade picture as chair of the Nogales Port Authority.

He thinks part of the boost is from tourism, with a pent up demand to get away from COVID restrictions and escape to a beautiful beach.

And I think there are a lot of people with an appetite to come shopping up to Tucson and Phoenix and even here in Nogales. Then I think that that appetite was pending for a long time and pent up and we’re able to do that now.

Josh Rubin of Javid LLC says, Part of what I do is I help foreign manufacturers open up operations in Mexico.

That puts Rubin in touch with a trend not as obvious to Arizonans as Mexican fruit on their tables.

Rubin manages factories in Mexico for 35 client companies building everything from cabinets for fast food outlets to aerospace parts.

He says even Asian companies are setting up in Mexico as a hedge against tension and trouble in other parts of the world; and that means jobs for Arizonans.

Someone has to receive it, someone has to sell it, someone has to ship it, move it, transport it. Buy it. So there’s a lot more need of that same thing with the Asian companies that are coming and they’re forming companies in the United States to receive that finished product and then sell it distributed to their clients as well.

And Rubin says according to U.S. and Mexican governments trade with Mexico creates more than five million jobs across the U.S.