Last week, the cities of Toronto and Rio de Janeiro officially became friendship cities. This is an important step for the City of Toronto in building relationships with South America. With Toronto's increased profile in the Americas and the Caribbean as a result of us hosting the successful 2015 Pan Am Games, it is important now more than ever to capitalize on economic development through trade and relationships in the Americas and around the world.
I am proud to have started the establishment of this agreement with my motion that was passed unanimously at City Council back in 2012 to invite the City of Rio de Janeiro to join the City of Toronto in forming a friendship city alliance.
Toronto and Rio de Janeiro share many similarities and opportunities for future synergies. Both cities have thriving film industries, are major economic centres, and are major culture and tourism destinations both nationally and globally. I firmly believe that both cities through this agreement will have the opportunity to learn best practices from one another, which will strengthen Toronto's society, economy, and municipal functions.
Rio de Janeiro becomes the 10th city in the City's International Alliance Program. The program maintains and grows business-oriented relationships with these cities in order to strengthen economic, cultural and multicultural links internationally and to share best practices. These city relationships are based on demographics, economic growth and social similarities, GDP, and the potential for export and trade development.
This new relationship will assist Toronto businesses enter one of the most rapidly growing markets in the world. it would also provide an entry point for Toronto companies to do business with other countries in the southern South America region including Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
More information about the International Alliance Program and how the City helps business is available at http://www.toronto.ca/business.
You can view the official City of Toronto Press Release here.