PHOENIX -- City officials and business leaders from Phoenix arrived in Mexico City on Wednesday afternoon. One priority of the trade mission is repairing Arizona's reputation there in the aftermath of state laws, like SB 1070, seen as strongly anti-immigrant.
The delegation's agenda on Thursday included a meeting with Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs, as well as a meeting with the Mexican airline Volaris to discuss possible new flights to connect Phoenix and Mexican cities.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said one goal of the trade mission is to undo the perception that Arizona is unwelcoming to neighbors from the south.
"By passing 1070 and some of the other more divisive laws, we sent a message that we didn't embrace the diversity, we didn't welcome it," Stanton said. "A lot of very wealthy Mexicans voted with their feet to go to San Antonio and other locations to do their shopping. Shopping and short-term tourism is big business."
The delegation includes city officials and business leaders, as well as Margie Emmermann, Mexico policy advisor to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
Emmermann said these face-to-face trade missions are necessary for progress.
"In Mexico you have to first do the diplomacy and relationship building before you can get to the business," Emmermann said.
Other topics for the visit include boosting trade and economic ties in high tech industries and aerospace.