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Burien Mayor joins North American Mayors Summit in Mexico to talk trade, climate change, public safety concerns

BURIEN, Wash. – The tariff war between the US and Mexico is on hold for now; a deal reached between both countries means no increased tax hike on goods.

That's a sigh of relief for lawmakers, business owners, and consumers.  While the federal governments of both countries negotiated, 100 mayors met in Mexico for the first North American Mayors Summit.  The mayor of Burien joined the local Mexican Consulate to solve problems plaguing the entire continent.

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A picture of the North American Mayors Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico this past weekend.

“It was all done because of the tariffs and the relationship we have with Mexico,” said President Trump.

While the president and his team met with Mexican authorities this weekend, another group of Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians gathered to do their part to ease tensions between the nations.

“North America is a region, and the dialogue is the base to improve the relations between the three countries,” said Seattle’s Mexican Consulate Acting Head Consul Eduardo Sosa.

Eduardo Sosa heads Seattle’s Mexican Consulate.  He says they’ve been working for more than two years to bring 100 North American mayors together for a summit.  That included the only mayor from Washington state, Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta.

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The summit is the first of its kind in North America bringing 100 mayors to Mexico to talk trade, tariffs, opioids, public safety and climate change.

“Hearing the struggles that they’re talking about aren’t much different than what we have to deal with in the United States,” said Matta.

Matta says he went to Los Cabos to learn from Mexican cities and share knowledge. He handed out a flyer all about Burien to all the mayors, and shared lessons Burien has learned from things like climate change.

“It was interesting because there are small cities in Mexico who’ve gotten rid of plastic 100 percent, and there’s other cities that have put recycling as a priority for their communities,” said Matta.

Tackling the opioid problem also united the North American mayors.

“Challenges that we’re having with drug addiction in our communities. In fact, we’ve been having these conversations about safe injection sites, well they’re having the same conversation in Mexico,” said Matta.

Matta plans to implement new youth outreach programs discussed this weekend to target those most at-risk.  Sosa says tackling public safety issues is a big focus for all mayors.

“The important topics and issues are happening now at the local level,” said Sosa.

But tariff threats at the federal level dominated the conversation.

“If this was implemented, that would’ve created more unemployment in Mexico which would’ve create more migration to the United States,” said Matta.

With tariff talk behind us, Matta wants to strengthen Burien’s connection with the cities across both borders.

“We in America are intertwined with Mexico’s economy and Canada’s economy,” said Matta.

The next North American Mayors Summit is set for next year in Austin, Texas.  But before the next summit, Matta says he’s already working to bring some Mexican and Canadian mayors to Burien to continue the conversation and build diplomacy.

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