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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2006

Officials attend NASCO conference

City of Kansas City, Mo., officials attended the North America SuperCorridor Coalition conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from May 31 to June 2.

This conference brought together senior government and business leaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico. The conference focused on building a sustainable and secure trade and transportation corridor for North America. The City's delegation met with Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, Winnipeg Councillor Franco Magnifico, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and Manitoba trade representatives.

"Kansas City was recognized everywhere. During his presentation, even Premier Doer spoke of Kansas City's active work in developing business along the corridor," City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen said.

Councilman George Blackwood Jr., 4th District, who also serves as president of the North America SuperCorridor Coalition, was the master of ceremonies of the three-day conference. Ron Lemieux, Minister, Manitoba Transportation and Government Services served as conference chair.

Long-term benefits of building relationships at conferences like these are more jobs in Kansas City and with partners in Canada and in Mexico. Immediate results of the conference include a session that is slated to take place in Manzanillo, Mexico, in June. Leaders from Kansas City, Mexico and Canada will be a part of the gathering slated to take action on trade and transportation issues affecting all three areas. Kansas City established a trade agreement with officials at Manzanillo's deepwater port in 2005.

"I started working on our North American relationships and partnerships when I was mayor pro tem, and Mayor Barnes has continued supporting me in that work. Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper and I have worked on this issue together. Now it's paying off," Blackwood said.

Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper, 2nd District at large, was the keynote presenter at the tri-lateral luncheon and her topic was the role of cities in enhancing trade and transportation along the mid-continent corridor.

"Without a doubt, the response was wonderful when I told the story of how Kansas City established its trade and transportation routes and took a lead role in becoming an inland port," Cooper said.

Cooper took the lead with the City in establishing the Mexiplex, which currently houses the Kansas City-Mexico Business Development Office, the Hispanic Chamber, the Mexican Consulate and other offices related to Latino trade. Canada has been invited to join the City and Mexico in that center and establish a trade office.

As a result, Kansas City companies seeking local market exposure, agents, distributors or strategic alliance partners in central Canada will have an opportunity to take part in a trade mission to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in September.

Companies that participate in the mission will have one-on-one prescheduled appointments with Canadian businesses in the greater Winnipeg area and the Province of Manitoba.

For more information about this trade mission to Canada, contact Stephan Bras, Office of International Affairs and Trade, (816) 513-3521, or stephan_bras@kcmo.org.

    
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