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Veracruz values relationship with Kansas City

The Mexican state of Veracruz and the city of Veracruz (often referred to as Puerto de Veracruz to distinguish it from the state) recently greeted a five-member delegation from the City of Kansas City, Mo.

The four-day exploratory mission starting June 11 laid the groundwork for another Kansas City partnership in Mexico. In 2004 and 2005, Kansas City signed memorandums of understanding with the cities and ports in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, and Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacán, Mexico, on the Pacific coast. Those partnerships already have accelerated trade relations for various companies in Kansas City. Because Veracruz is the major port city on the Gulf of Mexico, Kansas City wanted to investigate the possibilities of increasing business with Mexico's east coast.

The mission proved successful. Later this year, Veracruz officials plan to bring a delegation to Kansas City on a trade mission that will focus on business matchmaking.

Councilman George Blackwood, 4th District; Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper, 2nd District at large; JoAnna Edgerton, director of the City's Office of International Affairs and Trade; Jose Somoza, general manager of the City's Mexico Trade Program; and David Burdick, principal of Priority Logistics, took part in state and city meetings in Veracruz.

"The governor told us that after he attended the North America Governors' Conference in Winnipeg (Canada) and heard so much about Kansas City, he wanted to know more about us," said Blackwood, who also is the president of North America's Super Corridor Coalition.

Fidel Herrera Beltran, governor of Veracruz, set up official meetings with the Kansas City delegation when they visited his offices in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Additionally, Mayor Julem Rementeria Del Puerto of the city of Veracruz arranged for meetings with his city's officials. The delegation also met with federal representatives of the Port Authority.

"The port of Veracruz is the oldest port in Mexico with the most modern technology," Somoza said. "Their reporting and tracking devices are definitely state-of-the-art."

Another plus for establishing trade relationships with Veracruz is the fact that Kansas City Southern rail lines go directly to the city and the state. In addition, the corridor connecting the east coast of Mexico to Kansas City and directly into Canada provides easy access to shipping via truck lines.

"Although this was an exploratory mission, we accomplished much more than we hoped for," Cooper said. "The mayor had heard so much about Kansas City and wanted to know how to contact the right people, so our mission was very timely."

The Kansas City delegation's visit in the state and city of Veracruz drew newspaper headline articles, as well as extensive television coverage.

Although the majority of the delegation returned to Kansas City after the Veracruz meetings, Somoza went on to Mexico City where he met with directors of operation, senior port captains, and regional managers of three shipping lines interested in opening trade relations with potential clients in Kansas City.

Somoza also met with officers of BancoMext, another step in building relationships to promote continued international business opportunities with Mexico.

City News Releases - 2006

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