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Business leaders expand trade options with North American peers

A Kansas City delegation led by Mayor Kay Barnes and Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper, 2nd District at large, attended the Hemispheria Conference to promote Kansas City’s potential to be a major contributor in international trade. Kansas City was the host of this annual event in May 2004.

The delegation met with ministers, governors, mayors, economic development directors and Chamber of Commerce leaders from Mexico and Canada May 11-13 in San Pedro, Monterrey, Mexico. The trade conference yielded significant results for the City and participating businesses and organizations.

“It is phenomenal that Canada, the United States and Mexico, their three separate governments, and three cultures are working together as one,” Cooper said. “Kansas City lies at the geographical heart of the three countries and offers the ideal location to exchange information and set the vision for tomorrow.” Cooper also is the chairman of the Kansas City, Missouri-Mexico Business Development Corporation.

Meetings with officials from the port cities of Manzanillo, Colima and Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan launched discussions about trade routes and pilot shipments from Manzanillo to Kansas City, and from Lazaro Cardenas to Kansas City.

“Our partnerships with these Mexican ports put Kansas City in a pivotal position to become the Pacific ports’ primary United States inland port, and it puts Kansas City another step ahead of the competition for economic growth and job creation,” Mayor Barnes said.

Other results of the trade mission included:

    1. Confirmation of a trade mission from Sister City San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon.

    2. Expansion and strengthening of Kansas City’s Canadian trade initiative with Winnipeg, Manitoba and Montreal, Quebec.

    3. Confirmation of Trans AM Group’s and RXCCI’s linkage to the new $15 million bio-technology center being developed by Monterrey TEC, the premier University in Mexico.

Kansas City played a prominent role in the conference that drew more than 700 participants from Canada, the United States and Mexico. Mayor Barnes served on the trilateral government panel with the Honorable Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, and the Honorable Lazaro Cardenas Batel, Governor of the State of Michoacan Mexico.

The conference speakers and presenters included Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada; Michael Milken, chairman of the Milken Institute; Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Bill Richardson, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and current Governor of New Mexico; and Laurent Beaudoin, chairman of Bombardier.

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