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Phoenix economic development leaders want to open a trade, investment and tourism office in Mexico City early next year. They will ask council members to approve a plan that could involve spending up to $200,000 to hire a Mexico City firm with connections and experience to help run the office.

It's a big part of a developing plan by Phoenix to forge a long-term economic partnership with Mexico. Last year, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton created a task force to help the city strengthen economic ties with Mexico. In addition to the Mexico City office, the group recommends:

• Partnering with Universidad Nacional Autonama de Mexico (UNAM) to open a Phoenix campus.

• Exploring options for establishing a Mexican Cultural Center in Phoenix.

• Continuing to build upon trade missions.

According to a report to be presented to the city council this week, Arizona and greater Phoenix rank below other competing markets in terms cross border flow, bilateral trade and director foreign investment.

Christina Estes, Reporter

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