PHOENIX (August 22, 2017)—To improve the economies of Arizona and Sonora, the Ari-Son Megaregion Council will meet Thursday to discuss the future of trade between the two states. The agenda will include discussions regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), new tourism efforts, and promoting binational partnerships.

The Council includes local elected officials from Arizona and Sonora. They work with stakeholders from all levels of government and the business community to advance binational initiatives of local and regional significance. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Pima Association of Governments (PAG), Pima County, City of Tucson and State of Sonora—with the cooperation of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns—worked jointly to bring the group together.

“When the economy of one state or region improves, so does the economy of the other,” says MAG Chair Jackie Meck, mayor of Buckeye. “It is vital for local governments on both sides of the border to engage in dialogue that furthers our understanding of where opportunities exist and how we can help each other succeed.”

The Ari-Son Megaregion Council will meet on Thursday, August 24, at 2:30 p.m. in the Catalina Room of the Hilton El Conquistador Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Rd., Oro Valley Arizona. More than 20 elected officials and 2 consulate representatives will attend the session. The meeting takes place during the annual conference of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

Created three years ago, the Ari-Son Megaregion Council last year became the first binational group to be recognized by the League as an official affiliate group.

“The 2014 partnering charter identifies broad areas where local elected officials can work together to enhance prosperity in both Sonora and Arizona,” notes Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “Since then, the Megaregion Council has continued to convene annually to share information and discuss ways for our states to collaborate.”

Rothschild noted that trade corridors such as I-10, I-19, Mexico Highway 15 and the proposed I-11 corridor are of key interest. Elected officials in both states have been supportive of improving transportation infrastructure.

Former Congressman Jim Kolbe will lead a discussion on an initiative to enhance tourism. The NAFTA panel will be led by Carefree Councilmember Michael Farrar and will include Garrick Taylor of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ryan Fernandez of BRH2 Plastics, and Richard Rubin, CEO of Javid LLC and an Index Board Member and USA affairs representative.

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