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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 27, 2005

Kansas City to host Mexican, Canadian officials at trade conference

Experts from the fields of transportation, logistics, supply chain management and economic and trade development, as well as top government leaders from Mexico, Canada and the United States will gather in America’s heartland next month for the first North America Works conference.

The conference, scheduled for Oct. 13-14, in Kansas City, will focus on intercontinental economic integration, expanding entrepreneurial links among North American cities, and building North American transportation strategies. The event will be presented by the City of Kansas City, Mo.

Mexico’s Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez, the undersecretary for North America; Manitoba, Canada Premier Gary Doer; and Missouri U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond are the conference’s keynote speakers.

“We are thrilled to welcome leaders from both government and business to our city to discuss the timely matter of trade and transportation,” Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes said. “I am confident this conference will continue our city’s efforts to lead the dialogue on establishing stronger trade and entrepreneurial ties with Mexico and Canada.”

Kansas City officials believe the conference will further solidify its status as an international cargo and freight distribution hub. The issue of establishing more efficient trade and distribution routes, systems and relationships is timely as Americans search for new ways to get goods to market faster and at less cost. Kansas City is no stranger to hosting important trade-related meetings and negotiations.

Last February, the city welcomed Luis Ernesto Dérbez, Mexican secretary of foreign affairs (similar to secretary of state); Josefina Vázquez Mota, Mexican secretary of social development; and Carlos Icaza, Mexican ambassador to the United States; as well as 70 consuls general and other Mexican government officials.

The North American Trade Corridor was developed through a recent series of cooperative partnerships and infrastructure developments. These developments include the NAFTA Railway, which connects Canada with the central United States, central Mexico and Mexico’s Pacific seaports via railway utilizing Kansas City Southern Railway and the converted Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, which is now an intermodal trade facility.

The first of Mexico’s deepwater Pacific port cooperative partnerships was forged last January following a Kansas City trade mission to Manzanillo, Mexico. The agreement allows for containers to be unloaded in Mexico and then bypass inspection delays at the Texas-Mexican border and be delivered by rail to Kansas City. The second of these partnerships, signed in March with the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, contains provisions that lower the cost of moving containers through Kansas City, making it a competitive alternative to the major West Coast trade portals.

Kansas City’s future plans include incorporating strategic partnerships with Canada. It is expected the conference will include an announcement of a memorandum of understanding between Winnipeg, Canada and Kansas City to further solidify the City’s global trade ties with Canada. Eventual linkage between Kansas City and the province of Québec via the Québec-Ontario-Midwest corridor would be a boon to the North American Trade Corridor and increase traffic to and from Kansas City.

To register for the conference or for more information, please review the Web page, www.kcmo.org/international, or contact the City of Kansas City’s Office of International Affairs and Trade: (816) 513-3521, phone; (816) 513-3524, fax; or e-mail, international_office@kcmo.org.

    
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