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astiazaran-kevin-faulconer-mayors-meet-2015TIJUANA — Issues such as tourism, emergency response, the environment, police collaboration, and joint trade missions were the topics of discussion on Friday, as Mayor Kevin Faulconer brought top staff members from San Diego City Hall to meet with Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazaran and his staff.

We're going to be talking a lot about economic development, how are we attracting great jobs to the region

Faulconer said at a news conference before closed-door meetings at the Torre Cosmopolitan building in the city's Rio Zone.

The meeting was the first between the two cities since the mayors signed a memorandum of understanding in San Diego last November.

The mayors said tourism promotion is one of the more promising areas of collaboration.

There's a lot of interest from Asian tourists, from Japan and China, who want to visit San Diego but are also asking about Tijuana,

Astiazaran said.

Faulconer said one of the questions to explore was "how do we increase tourism opportunities on both sides of the border and give folks the opportunity to say, 'It's not just about coming to San Diego; here's what's happening in Tijuana.

While Tijuana police have for years worked closely with their San Diego counterparts, Tijuana's public safety secretary, Alejandro Lares Valladares, said that the formal agreement strengthens the ties.

Following the public presentation came more focused talks between the staff members. Xavier Peniche, Tijuana's economic development secretary, met with David Graham, deputy chief operating officer for San Diego, to discuss ways to promote shared industries, such as medical device manufacturing and advanced electronics.

A lot of people don't know what we offer together," Peniche said. "When we go on trade missions from the city of San Diego," said Graham, "we're talking about the entire megaregion.

Source: www.utsandiego.com by Sandra Dibble

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