Phoenix To Temporarily Close Mexico Trade Offices
A Phoenix City Council vote will result in the temporary closure of the city’s offices in Mexico, which connect companies on both sides of the border looking to expand, until the council approves a new agreement to run the offices.
The council, in a late June session, declined to temporarily extend the current contract after it expires at the end of this month, while city staff review two protests that were made to their recommendation for the job.
City staff had recommended the Phoenix law firm Molera Alvarez, which already handles the city’s representation in Mexico, continue managing the offices in Hermosillo, the capital of Arizona’s neighboring state of Sonora, and Mexico City. City staff had also recommended the council extend funding the office for two months while city staff review protests from two unsuccessful bidders who challenged their recommendation for the award, according to the meeting agenda.
The contract represents an annual budget of about $185,000, a city spokesman said.
Consultants in Hermosillo and Mexico City help organize meetings for Phoenix business leaders hoping to expand south and for Mexican companies looking to invest in Phoenix. The state of Arizona also contracts trade representation in Mexico. Mexico is the top export market for Arizona.
Ketan Patel, head of the energy information company Naya Energy, traveled with a city-organized trip of business leaders to Mexico City in June, and said he’d been looking to Mexico as a potential new market, but hadn’t actively pursued it because he lacked contacts. He found at least one prospect during his visit, he said.
“To do business in a country like Mexico, everything that matters is relationships,” Patel said. “The visit opened doors for us.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify the procedure that will result in the temporary closure of Phoenix's offices in Mexico.