The City of Phoenix and Hermosillo, Mexico have enjoyed strong ties for the past 40 years as Sister Cities. Through the years, Arizona and the state of Sonora have strengthened economic and cultural ties through economic development and educational exchange. A series of trade delegations led by Governor Doug Ducey and the City of Phoenix over the years has fostered more dialogue between education, business and industry within the region. The City of Phoenix recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of its trade office in Hermosillo. The purpose of the office is to help Phoenix-based companies access the Mexican market and attract more foreign direct investment.
Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, councilwoman Laura Pastor, representatives from departments within the city of Phoenix and industry leaders traveled to Hermosillo last week to celebrate recent successes as well as discuss future opportunities for partnership.
“The City of Phoenix has had a 40-year relationship as a city sister [with Hermosillo]… and we are very proud of that,” Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams said. “Mexico is our strongest trading partner; we can make that grow and we can make it stronger. I know we are very committed to making that happen. We have an office [in Hermosillo] to help everybody, make the process easier, make connections between the two cities to different businesses, corporations, financial institutions and universities.”
Among the major topics discussed among the representatives of Arizona and Mexico were strategies to connect businesses across the border and best practices for public services.
“The economy in Phoenix and Hermosillo is very strong but we need to improve more relations between business,” Hermosillo Mayor Celida Lopez said. “This office is very important because they [businesses] can find advice about opportunities [in Phoenix]. Also, I want advice [from the City of Phoenix] on public services and how I can improve public services. In this city, people do not know about recycling and Phoenix has 20 years of doing that. We are also talking about security; my police need a lot of training. My police would like to go to Phoenix to learn. Most important for me in this city is security and public services. We have a lot of work that we can do together.”
The Hermosillo office has helped the city raise its profile in key markets and industries with active participation in more than 60 trade shows and conferences. These events open a range of opportunities to Phoenix businesses, from aerospace to infrastructure to energy.
Robin Reed, president and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona, spoke to a group of business leaders at the Hermosillo-Phoenix Business Leadership Forum about how he first traveled to Hermosillo two years ago and began developing key business connections.
“I was very honored to be invited by then Mayor Stanton, our economic development department and the firm Molera Alvarez to join in the opening of the Hermosillo trade office,” Reed said. “As an entrepreneur myself, and as a president of a chamber of commerce who deals with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, what I know is progress creates opportunities. We have been able to create success stories large and small, and we are not even close to done.”
Reed explained how he assisted an Arizona technology company that was having a hard time attracting talent by connecting them with contacts in Hermosillo who are training students in tech related fields.
2019 marks a monumental year for Arizona’s relationship with Mexico. In addition to Hermosillo and Phoenix celebrating 40 years as Sister Cities, the Arizona-Mexico Commission is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The Commission will be hosting Martha Bárcena, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States at the 2019 Governor’s Luncheon on March 19th.