There are 10 million jobs at stake in the "vital" economic and trade relationship that exists between Mexico and the United States, said Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan in a visit with Viva Colorado and The Denver Post Editorial Board on Tuesday.

"A rising tide will lift both boats," he said, while offering a positive view of the Mexican economy, which has been growing as the U.S. economy slowed and has benefited from free-trade agreements and supply chain relationships with, for example, the rebounding U.S. auto industry.

The ambassador cited economic growth in Mexico of 5 percent since the beginning of the recession in 2008 and a Mexican unemployment rate that was 3.9 percent in February as well as zero net migration and a 60 percent reduction in migrant flow to the U.S. for 2011 among recent positive economic factors for the country.

"We have no better capital than our human capital," Sarukhan said. "If we can't hold on to these talented young men and women, then our loss is your gain. We need to hold onto them to continue growth."

Sarukhan was in Denver to make his case for why the United States and our southern neighbor need each other, a case he's made - at least once - in 45 of the 50 American states, he said. Mexico has been the U.S.' second- and third-largest trading partner in recent years and is the second-largest purchaser of U.S. goods.

A career diplomat who has held his current post since 2007, Sarukhan also had lunch with Gov. John Hickenlooper and met with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Tuesday, to deepen those relationships, Sarukhan said.


The governor was not available to comment on the meeting, but a spokesman with the Mexican Consulate in Denver said the two leaders were very content at the end of their time together.

The meeting with Mayor Hancock also went well.

"Ambassador Sarukhan and I had thoughtful discussions on immigration, Secure Communities, education and expanded partnerships on tourism," Hancock said. "Denver is committed to partnering with the Mexican Consulate on these issues and more as we work to deliver a world class city where everyone matters."

Sarukhan was slated to attend an event at the Broadmoor International Center in Colorado Springs on Wednesday. He will also meet with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers while there.

"It's a grand honor for me to welcome Ambassador Sarukhan to Colorado and to the city of my birth, Colorado Springs," Suthers said. "His presence underlines the commitment of my office and law enforcement in our state to work with our Mexican counterparts in favor or justice and public safety."

At the end of the month, Mexican Consul General Andres Chao will lead a trade mission to Mexico from Colorado, Sarukhan said.

He said he also has hopes of expanding the "healthy two-way tourism" that exists between Mexico and Colorado.

"There is such a thing as being tied at the hip for good," he said.