Gov. Blunt to travel to Mexico to promote trade

Friday, February 9, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gov. Matt Blunt will make another trip to Mexico next week to meet with political leaders to spur development of a Kansas City port linking the United States and Mexico.

Blunt said his goal for the trip is to spur trade ties and advance a proposal to open an international port in Kansas City. The facility would allow goods to clear customs in Missouri and be shipped directly to the Mexican city of Lazaro Cardenas. It would also permit imports from around the globe to be shipped from Lazaro Cardenas and clear customs in Kansas City.

The tab for the trip will be paid by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit group that funds business promotion activities by governors and receptions for visiting dignitaries.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development and leaders for the Kansas City port project are slotted to travel with Blunt.

According to the Department of Economic Development, Missouri exported $1.2 billion worth of products to Mexico in 2005. Transportation equipment -- amounting to $317 million -- is the state's biggest Mexican export.

Blunt, who is leaving Sunday and returning Tuesday, is scheduled to meet with newly elected Mexican President Felipe Calderon, U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza and several lower-level Mexican officials.

Blunt traveled to Mexico in 2005 to meet with then-President Vicente Fox and business and political leaders from the Mexican port city of Monterrey.

Democratic Gov. Bob Holden also traveled to Mexico to promote the Kansas City port during his first year in office in 2001.

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