Newsroom | Renewing Strategic Ties with Sonora

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Leaders from Arizona and Mexico came together for an economic mission in Hermosillo, Sonora. MAG plays crucial role in making the international trip happen.

Renewing Strategic Ties with Sonora
MAG leads economic mission to the City of Hermosillo

Economic Development, Sonora

MAG elected Officials with Mayor of Hermosillo Antonio Astiazaran.
(Courtesy of the City of Hermosillo Communication Department)

Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, share more than a common border. The two depend on each other for many things – including a thriving economy. That is why leaders from Arizona and Mexico came together for an economic mission in Hermosillo, Sonora. The Maricopa Association of Governments played a crucial role in making the international trip happen. The three-day event was MAG’s first out of the country since 2019. It also marked the first visit with newly elected state and local officials in Sonora.

The MAG economic mission was planned in partnership with the mayor of the city of Hermosillo, Antonio Astiazarán, and Hermosillo Councilmember Ana Maria Araque. The three-day mission focused on three key goals:

  • Stimulate economic development and the improvements of the shared binational infrastructure.
  • Connect with key business leaders and newly elected officials in Hermosillo.
  • Seek ideas and promote participation in the annual Ari-Son Council meeting in September in Arizona.

El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo is the chair of MAG’s Economic Development Committee. She says it was important for the economic mission to explore synergies between both regions and exchange economic development strategies.

“I think that the summit really emphasized and highlight the issues that are current, and the opportunities that we have to partner and grow together” noted Mayor Hermosillo.

MAG delegation visits Hermosillo Sonora

MAG delegation visits Hermosillo Sonora
(Courtesy of the Secretary of Infrastructure and Urban Development (SIDUR) Communication Department)

Building an Ideal Partnership

One key component of a thriving region is a strong economy. In the case of Arizona and Mexico, that means bringing industry and jobs back from overseas. The practice is known as nearshoring, and it was a key focus on the second day of MAG’s trip to Hermosillo. A Binational Nearshoring Summit of more than 80 key stakeholders focused on encouraging local and state government collaboration and strengthening already robust shared binational industries.

The event featured three binational panels of experts discussing the following topics:

  • Nearshoring to Arizona and Sonora.
  • Emerging technologies and sustainability.
  • The future of the workforce and binational education.

“I think that the Binational Nearshoring Summit was very impressive in the fact that we had many dignitaries present, especially from the city of Hermosillo and the state of Sonora,” Mayor Hermosillo said.

Welcoming remarks at Nearshoring Summit

Hermosillo Mayor Antonio Astiazarán, US Consul General Ken Roy, and Mexico Consul General Jorge Mendoza-Yescas provide welcoming remarks at Nearshoring Summit.
(Courtesy of Ayuntamiento de Hermosillo)

Shared Success

Examples of success stories from both sides of the border include:

  • Sonora’s efforts to continue growing the economy and improving key infrastructure projects.
  • Key industries moving into the Phoenix metropolitan area because of the regional geostrategic advantages.
  •  Hermosillo’s goals of developing a supply chain sourcing strategy in the sectors of mining, automotive, advanced industrial services, electronics, aerospace, and agri-tech products.

The director of the newly inaugurated Phoenix Trade Office in Hermosillo, Antonio Proto, said the trade office can become the conduit of binational communication and business resources for Sonoran companies willing to expand to Phoenix.

Binational Nearshoring Summit taking place in Hermosillo Sonora

Binational Nearshoring Summit taking place in Hermosillo Sonora.
(Courtesy of Ayuntamiento de Hermosillo)

Focusing on Sustainability and Education

The summit also showed political leaders from Arizona and Sonora common challenges and opportunities to work toward a more sustainable future.

A panel on emerging technologies and sustainability featured Sonora Congressman Raul Castelo, who is the chair of a special commission on lithium, a light metal used in batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, and electric vehicles. Rep. Castelo said the commission will discuss legislation on how to secure the lithium mining resources and provide a competitive environment that fosters inclusive economic development.

Tempe City Councilmember Joel Navarro returned from the trip with a new appreciation of those efforts. “I was impressed with the sustainability efforts that they are doing in Hermosillo with going forward with electric vehicles, especially for the police department to retrofit all of their cars to become electric.”

Other highlights showcased what is being done to conserve energy and water, including:

  • Goodyear’s ongoing conservation outreach programs and attraction of sustainable data centers.
  • SRP providing information on their water sustainability and innovative practices.
  • Hermosillo’s plan to provide energy consumption reduction programs.

The economic mission also brought both sides to the table to discuss the future of the workforce in the region. Discussions focused on providing academic partnerships and corporate engagement strategies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. The ideas shared aim to help people who are looking for a job, as well as those already in the workforce, become better candidates for quality positions in both Arizona and Sonora.

MAG delegation meets with local leaders in Hermosillo

MAG delegation meets with local leaders in Hermosillo.
(Courtesy of the Sonora Congress Communication Department)

Rebuilding After the Pandemic

After the challenges of the past two years, there is a heightened sense that both Arizona and Sonora can come back stronger than ever by working together. Leaders from both states recognized the vital role tourism has for the region.

Goodyear Vice Mayor Brannon Hampton said, “With Mexico being our top trade partner and also one of our largest tourism groups as well, they play a vital role in the economy in Arizona and the West Valley.”

It is a sentiment shared by Goodyear Economic Development Director Lori Gary.

“It is so important to develop these relationships… Hermosillo and Sonora are truly important to the Arizona economy.” For more information about MAG initiatives with Mexico, contact: Elsa Beljean, Policy Planner II at [email protected].

MAG delegation members posing at the Binational Nearshoring Summit in Hermosillo

MAG delegation members posing at the Binational Nearshoring Summit in Hermosillo.
(Courtesy of Ayuntamiento de Hermosillo)

Published June 24, 2022

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The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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