Former Mayor Daley spent 22 years building Chicago's international reputation. In Mexico City Thursday he did his best to stay in the background as he passed the baton to his successor.
When Emanuel joined Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera signing the new sister cities agreement, Chicago's mayor was less concerned with ceremony and more with the potential two of the continent's largest metro areas hold for each other.
"We can grow together, create jobs, economic opportunity and build a common future together," he said.
With over 20 million people, La Ciudad de Mexico is the largest city in North America, the average age of its population in the mid-20's. Despite the United States immigration controversy, the vast majority of Mexicans seek opportunity at home.
"It's a country which is experiencing a high growth rate," said Jose Antonio Peral, Mexican Consulate.
Peral says Mexicans who work in their own country are major consumers of American-made products.
"Mexico is the second biggest buyer of U.S. made products after Canada," he said.
Chicago, with the second largest Mexican-American population among U.S. cities, has obvious cultural links to Mexico.
Former mayor Richard M. Daley also was in Mexico City as part of the Global Cities initiative sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.
"It's an initiative to build a global economy for not just the city but for the region or metropolitan areas in America and build relationships throughout the world," he said.
Thursday morning, Mayor Emanuel visited the historic Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe as Chicago's Jewish mayor paid respect in the most Catholic nation in the world.
It is the new beginning of an old relationship that both cities hope will mean billions of dollars in resurgent business and jobs.
"Nothing will hold back Mexico City. Nothing will hold back the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.
The mayor and city also are promoting Chicago tourism during the trip. Mexico's growing middle class is the target.
Emanuel's first international trip as mayor showcases the importance of Mexico and its people to Chicago's economic future.