Doing business internationally is nothing new for Arizonans. They simply make a short trip south to meet their longest-standing partners in the global economy -- the businesses of Sonora.
That was evident this week in Tucson at the summer session of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, a state government agency that works to foster better relations with Sonora as a means of creating business synergies. The organization has existed for more than a half-century and meets twice annually to discuss common issues, solve problems and create an atmosphere for making business deals.
Margie Emmermann, a Sonora native and executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, said in an Arizona Week interview that the gathering would serve to "continue the great relationship we have with the state of Sonora and to identify additional opportunities for economic development and job creation. We're really focused on how can we better this regional economy."
The Sonorans, who have their own Sonora-Arizona Commission, feel the same.
"Without a doubt, the commercial relationship between Sonora and Arizona is close on both sides of the border," said Raúl Bujanda, an Hermosillo businessman and president of the Chamber of Industry and Transformation of Sonora. His comments, translated from Spanish, also came in an interview with Arizona Week.
"We want to take advantage of all the benefits Sonora has to offer. ..." Bujanda said. "We are the fifth most dynamic state out of 32 (in Mexico), so we have to take advantage of that and grow the business relationship with Arizona."
In Arizona, estimates are that the relationship with Sonora is worth $10.7 billion a year and 110,000 jobs and growing, slowly but surely. In Sonora, the growth is dynamic, Bujanda said.
"We are creating 30,000 jobs or more per year," he said. "We believe that quantifying the relationship between Sonora and Arizona is substantial."
Emmermann said focal points for this week's discussion were aerospace, energy, logistics, business management and mining.
"We had a great energy forum, and I heard businesspeople talking to other businesspeople, both from Sonora and Arizona, about how they can start collaborating together," Emmermann said. "It's all sorts of projects in the renewables."
Emmermann's counterpart in Sonora, Carlos Portillo, said he also hoped to see deals come out of the meetings.
"On the private meetings with the governors, we are going to have two important meetings," said Portillo, general coordinator of the Sonora-Arizona Commission. "One of them is going to be aerospace manufacturing, and the other one is going to be energy. We invited (businesspeople) from the private sector from Sonora and from Arizona to make business."