Tucson now has a business liaison to Mexico.

Juan Francisco Padrés has been hired as the new economic specialist for international trade.

For months, the City Manager's Office has been looking to add a person to the economic development team who can advance the city's trade position with Mexico and other countries.

Padrés' duties will include increasing direct foreign investment from Mexico in Tucson, assisting Tucson businesses to expand their operations into Mexico, and identifying economic opportunities with other countries.

While Padrés, a native of Nogales, Sonora, currently works in the Phoenix area, he has many ties to Tucson.

He holds both undergraduate and master of business administration degrees from the University of Arizona.

He also a owned a small business in Tucson.

Councilwoman Regina Romero said Padrés' hire is an important step for the city.

"The mayor and council recognize the importance of developing our business relationship with Mexico," Romero said. "This is an important economic development step for the city of Tucson, and I look forward to a productive relationship with Mr. Padrés."

Councilman Richard Fimbres said the hire will pay dividends for Tucson in the future.

"It's a great opportunity for the city of Tucson for long-term sustainability," Fimbres said. "We now have to compete globally, and this is a move in the right direction."

Padrés first day on the job will be Feb. 4. Salary information was not immediately available from city officials.