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Business leaders join North American peers at meetings in Mexico

The largest delegation of its kind from Kansas City will attend an economic conference in Mexico this week. More than 30 Kansas City leaders representing large corporations, small/medium-sized businesses, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, the Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone, SmartPort, and city government will attend “Hemispheria San Pedro: The Future of North American Integration” in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, May 11-13.

“The size of this delegation attests to the strong trade and business relationships established between Mexico and Kansas City, Mo.,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper, 2nd District at large. Cooper also is the president of the Kansas City, Missouri-Mexico Business Development Corporation, a non-profit organization.

More than 300 leaders in business, government, economic development, and academia from Canada, the United States and Mexico will discuss North American international trade corridors, immigration, border security, transportation and NAFTA compliance. There also will be an unprecedented meeting of North American chambers of commerce and the 11th Annual Summit of North American Mayors.

Conference presenters will include highly recognized business leaders like Carlos Slim-Helu, president of Grupo Carso, whose sprawling conglomerate owns more than 80 percent of Grupo Sanborns. Grupo Sanborns includes the Sanborns department store chain, and a majority stake in Sears Roebuck de Mexico. Grupo Carso has interests in cigarette maker Cigatam and railway operator Ferrosur, and in other retail, industrial, and construction ventures.

Among the other business presenters are Lorenzo Zambrano, president and CEO of CEMEX. CEMEX is recognized globally as being a major producer and marketer of quality cement and ready mix products. It also is expected that Bill Gates will attend the conference.

Additionally Luis Ernesto Derbez, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, will be the opening keynote speaker. Derbez was in Kansas City in early 2005 to discuss the proposed opening of a customs facility in the city, the first of its kind not in Mexico.

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