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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 6, 2005

North American trade development tops agenda at summit

Kansas City to focus international attention on coordinated commerce

A delegation of politicians, business leaders, development specialists, and North American transportation and logistics researchers from Canada, Mexico and the United States will gather in Kansas City Oct. 13-14 for a monumental conference that will outline future commerce and a multi-modal transportation strategy for the three countries.

Issues to be discussed at the first-ever North America Works conference include economic integration, expanding entrepreneurial links among North American cities and building more efficient transportation strategies using Kansas City as the central hub.

Keynote speakers scheduled to present include:

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond

    Mexican Undersecretary for North America Gerónimo Gutierrez Fernandez

    Manitoba, Canada Premier Gary Doer.

“We welcome Senator Bond, Mr. Gutierrez, Premier Doer and the host of other officials to this timely and first-ever conference,” said Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes. “We intend to showcase our city as the most important transportation hub in the country and promote new trade objectives that will impact and boost economic growth for us and our friends in Mexico and Canada.”

All three keynote panelists have expressed a keen interest in helping to improve trade efficiency between the three countries. Bond is the senior Republican senator from Missouri and a former two-term governor of the state.

As chairman of the of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, he co-authored recently passed federal highway transportation legislation for $286.5 billion. Bond is a longtime proponent of economic development in the state, and has supported the idea of infrastructure investment to establish new business and trade corridors revolving around Kansas City as a national transportation hub.

Gutierrez is the top official for North America in the Mexican foreign ministry and is an economist and political scientist. A graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, he has worked for the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the President and the National Bank for Public Works. He is a close aide to Mexican President Vicente Fox and has traveled to Kansas City several times during the past year representing his country’s interests in the development of the new trade corridor and commerce partnership with Kansas City and Canada. This is the first time Mexican government officials have solicited the private sector to assist in funding their country’s infrastructure needs.

Doer was re-elected to a second term as Manitoba premier in June 2003 with an increased majority in the Provincial Legislature. Under his leadership, the government of Manitoba – one of 10 Canadian provinces – has aggressively moved forward with several strategic capital projects that have provided quality affordable housing, new education standards, and strategic new business partnerships similar to the developing agreements with their counterparts in Kansas City and Mexico. Transportation and foreign merchandise exports are forecast to experience strong growth in Canada in 2005.

The three distinguished speakers will be joined at the summit by hundreds of other experts and corporate officials from transportation, logistics, supply chain management, and economic and trade development.

Kansas City is no stranger to hosting important trade-related negotiations and conversations. For the past five years, the city has worked to coordinate its internal efforts to pursue international trade opportunities, attract foreign investment and raise the city’s profile as an international business center. Kansas City’s future plans include incorporating additional strategic partnerships with Canada. It is expected that the conference will include an announcement of 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 Kansas City Office of International Affairs and Trade by calling (816) 513-3521; (816) 513-3524 (fax); or international_office@kcmo.org.

    
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