From: Foster, Holly []
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 1:58 PM
Cc: Chrismer, Rich; Robinson, Jessica; Beardslee, Keith
Subject: News Release - Blunt Strengthens Missouri's Trading Partnership with Mexico


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Contact: Jessica Robinson

Tuesday, February 13, 2007                                                                                  (573)751-0290


Blunt Strengthens Missouri’s Trading Partnership with Mexico


            JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt today returned to Missouri after leading a successful trade mission to Mexico which helped to strengthen relationships with the state’s second largest trading partner.  During his visit, Blunt emphasized the importance of a Mexican Customs Port Facility in Kansas City to Mexico’s new leaders, including President Felipe Calderon.


             “The SmartPort is hands down a great opportunity for both Mexico and Missouri,” Blunt said. “It will create distribution jobs in Kansas City, improve export opportunities and further enhance our trade relations with Mexico.  The trade mission provided an invaluable opportunity to continue strengthening relationships with Missouri’s second largest trading partner and to ensure SmartPort continues to move forward.”


            The governor and several Kansas City leaders met with Mexican officials to discuss SmartPort.  The talks were an important step in remaining persistent as Missouri continues to work towards a Mexican Customs Port Facility in Kansas City.  The facility will be the first of its kind ever in the U.S. and would allow U.S. exported goods to be cleared through Kansas City instead of along the U.S./Mexican border. 


            The benefits of SmartPort are far reaching and nonpartisan.  Both Governors Holden and Blunt have worked to build Missouri’s relationship with Mexico and secure the site in Kansas City.


            While in Mexico, the Missouri delegation met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Minister of Communications & Transportation Luis Tellez, Minister of Finance & Public Credit Agustin Carstens, Director of Mexican Customs Juan Jose Bravo, the Governor of the State of Michoacan Lazaro Cardenas and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio “Tony” Garza.


            In 2005 Missouri exported $1.15 billion in products to Mexico. Missouri exports to Mexico have increased over the last five years by more than $469 million, a change of 68.55 percent. Transportation equipment at $317 million was the state's largest export in 2005, followed by agricultural products.