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African-American businesses said they were left out of Phoenix-Mexico trade deal

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — One local, minority chamber of commerce said they were left out of Phoenix’s trade deal with Mexico.

“It’s just seems like I would have at least gotten a phone call,” Kerwin Brown, president of the Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce, said. “‘Are you interested in going as part of the delegation to Mexico, to meet some of these people to see if there are business opportunities for your constituency?’”

That phone call and that question never came, Brown said.

“I just feel like somehow, someway, everybody else got pushed to the side and got forgotten about,” he said. “It is not just about black businesses, even though that is my focus.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa signed a trade deal on Oct. 6 to create an economic partnership between the two cities, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

“This agreement is going to facilitate trade, investment and promotion between our two cities,” Stanton said in a telephone interview with the Phoenix Business Journal. “We’ve seen how Mexico is interested in making strategic investments into economic sectors where Phoenix is a leader. This (memo of understanding) provides that groundwork.”

Brown said not all minority businesses have a seat at the table and are not being called upon to be a part of this new asset in Arizona’s economy.

“Even if I get brought in after-the-fact, well, I missed out on building those relationships,” he said of building vital relationships for business owners.

Brown said he does not feel that the Black Chamber of Commerce is being excluded, just somehow not included.

Robbie Sherwood, a Stanton spokesman, said Phoenix’s diversity is its greatest strength and city officials will work with African-American businesses in the community to help them expand their reach into Mexico.

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