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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 10, 2005

U.S., Canadian and Mexican officials promote integration of economies

Leaders say economic development, new jobs will follow

Integrating intercontinental economies, expanding entrepreneurial links between cities, and building North American transportation strategies among United States, Canadian and Mexican urban centers will be at the center of discussions among business leaders, regional development specialists, transportation and logistics researchers and government officials at the first-ever North America Works international transportation conference in Kansas City Oct. 13-14.

“We believe finding ways to further integrate the economies of our three countries will lead to increased economic development, growth and new jobs,” said Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes. “We intend to showcase our city as the most important north-south transportation hub in North America and promote new trade objectives that will impact and boost economic growth for us and our friends in Mexico and Canada.”

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.

Bond is the senior Republican senator from Missouri and chairman of the of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee. Gutierrez is the top official for North America in the Mexican foreign ministry and is an economist and political scientist. And under Doer’s leadership, the government of Manitoba – one of 10 Canadian provinces – has aggressively sought out several strategic capital projects including new business partnerships similar to the developing agreements with their counterparts in Kansas City and Mexico. Participants will also hear from automotive, agriculture and life sciences experts who will address how transportation and logistics issues affect supply chains in these increasingly continental sectors. Other speakers will describe new entrepreneurial ventures that expand business ties to Mexico’s deep water ports and link North America’s inland ports.

Kansas City officials believe the conference will further solidify the city's 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. During the past 10 years, Kansas City has steadily expanded its transportation infrastructure program; its organization, and particularly its private-public leadership, having made it unique among North American metropolitan regions.

Today, Kansas City is arguably the most important north-south trade processing center in the United States – and thus in North America. Since the mid-1990s, the city has aggressively pursued two interrelated strategies to expand its economy through international trade.

One is a comprehensive international trade strategy for building on Kansas City's multi-modal transportation assets – highways, railways and cargo aviation – in order to become an international trade center; the other is a strategy for building NAFTA business between Mexico and Canada and in communities, in particular, along the mid-continental trade corridor.

Kansas City’s future plans include incorporating additional strategic partnerships with Canada. Officials expect to announce a new trade memorandum of understanding between Winnipeg, Canada and the City. Eventual linkage between Kansas City and the province of Québec via the Québec-Ontario-Midwest corridor is another future objective of the corridor's planners.

To register for the conference or for more information, please review the Web site (www.kcmo.org/international) or contact the City of Kansas City, Mo., Office of International Affairs and Trade by calling (816) 513-3521; (816) 513-3524 (fax); or international_office@kcmo.org.

    
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