A&M International Hosts Business Leaders from Numerous Countries

Texas A&M International University's College of Business Administration will host business leaders from seven countries who will visit Laredo April 29-May 1 to learn how international trade is conducted here.

The business leaders will visit the United States at the invitation of the United States Information Agency as part of a project studying the globalization of business and markets.

Duane Burdorf, director of the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at A&M International, said this year's visitors will be coming from Bangladesh, India, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia and Vietnam. Among the visitors are bank executives, economic researchers, business consultants and corporation executives.

"Every year, the U.S. Information Agency receives visitors from different countries and sends them to different parts of the United States so that they can learn about how things are done here," Burdorf said. "For the past 10 years, Laredo has been chosen because of its growth, the amount of trade it has seen and the way it has handled growth. Laredo has transformed from a tourist location to an Air Force base and then to a logistical center for international trade."

Among activities planned for the visitors are lectures by local and regional business practitioners. Topics to be explored include an overview of banking, maquilas and investments in the late 1990's; Laredo and the economy; maquiladoras; Laredo and NAFTA 1994-1997; and environmental conditions on the Texas-Mexico Border. The visitors will also tour Nuevo Laredo and learn about maquiladoras.

The group's goals include reviewing the social, political and economic implications of globalization; demonstrating practical examples of globalized business, markets, planning and action on the part of large and small business and communities; and discussing educational, environmental, communication, free market and democracy issues relating to globalization.

Burdorf noted that the programs of study offered by the College of Business Administration, including international logistics, trade and banking, uniquely apply to the visitors' project goals.

"We are an international University and we can cater to international visitors. We believe we have the expertise to give these visitors a good briefing and provide them with relevant information that they can take back to their countries and use," Burdorf said.

According to Burdorf, some of the countries represented in the visit are interested in establishing businesses similar to maquiladoras, and the Nuevo Laredo tour will give the visitors a needed perspective on maquiladoras.

Last year's visitors included representatives from Greece, Jamaica, Kenya, Egypt, Indonesia, Mozambique, Oman and Tanzania, Burdorf said.

For further information, please call Duane Burdorf at 326-2547 or contact Jesus Mandujano at 326-2545. University office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu