Arizona and Sonora work to strengthen relationships, create opportunities

Last month, development leaders from Arizona and Sonora, Mexico met at the 2018 Arizona-Sonora Megaregion Meeting in Phoenix to discuss the megaregion and its opportunities.

The megaregion concept is designed to “strengthen strategic cross-border economic development efforts,” and the “objective is to expand local government connections, best practices, provide a forum to elevate the voice of local leadership on binational policy matters, and identify areas for opportunity and collaboration,” according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).

The megaregion strategy is led by the Ari-Son Megaregion Council, which consists of local elected officials who work with stakeholders from government and the business community.

The council meeting covered a variety of topics, including MAG’s role in the megaregion. Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna, member of the MAG Economic Development Committee, said MAG’s role is to facilitate conversations that relate to economic development.

“What we’ve decided to do over the past five years is to build a relationship with the border mayors in Mexico,” said Vice Mayor Luna. “We know that Mexico is an economic engine and we want to be able to cultivate that relationship.”

With the recent shift in power in Mexico, MAG reached out to the new elected officials to continue building the trade relationship between Arizona and Mexico.

“We were very pleased that we had a number of elected officials coming from Mexico to have a conversation related to the economic development, so we’re very excited that happened,” Vice Mayor Luna said.

Cultivating and strengthening the cross-border relationship will add a variety of jobs to the market. Skybridge Arizona is a prime example.  

The unified cargo inspection facility located in the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will house both Mexican and United States customs.

“We have both Mexican and American customs agents located at the airport,” said Vice Mayor Luna. “Any goods going to Mexico are inspected here in the United States, and once they’re inspected here in the United States they’re free to travel anywhere in Mexico.”

Not only does this development speed up the process of exporting goods to Mexico, it also benefits employment. Vice Mayor Luna said Skybridge Arizona is projected to create 17,000 jobs.

The MAG Economic Development Committee plans to explore opportunities throughout other areas of Mexico.   

“We’re very happy that we’re working with Sonora and our counterparts in Sonora, but we want to certainly expand beyond that,” said Vice Mayor Luna. “Looking further down south and seeing if there’s any opportunities with central Mexico and southern Mexico.”


Sierra Ciaramella

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