TAMIU’s WHTC Hosts Central American Conference Next Week
Posted: 02/18/2010

TAMIU’s Western Hemispheric Trade Center Hosts
Central American Trade Meeting Next Week

Texas A&M International University will be center stage for a crucial meeting between two Western Hemispheric regions next week that could catapult Laredo into a logistical hub for Central American exports entering the U.S. market.

The meeting, titled, “First Business Roundtable Laredo-Central America,” will be held Feb. 24-25 at the University’s Western Hemispheric Trade Center and will feature roundtable discussions as well as exhibits.

Organized by the City of Laredo and the Federation of Chambers of Exportation of Central America, the gathering is expected to draw more than 200 exporters from Central America considering Laredo as a strategic distribution center for their exports to the United States. The meeting is the result of a trip Laredo city leaders took to Central America in December to promote Laredo as a competitive logistical hub for international trade.

TAMIU President Dr. Ray Keck also traveled to Central America to introduce the University as a solid resource for Western Hemispheric trade.

“We welcome our Central American partners to our campus and especially to our Western Hemispheric Trade Center where research and teaching on trade with Western Hemispheric nations takes place every day,” Dr. Keck said, “We are excited to serve our international trade partners as an established resource for their future business endeavors with Laredo and are equally delighted to show our students that this important gathering is what international trade is all about.”

Keck said TAMIU is a resource powerhouse for international trade as the University is home to the Western Hemispheric Trade Center, the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development, the Binational Center and the A.R. Sánchez School of Business where research and teaching regularly focus on international trade with Latin America.

“We are a proud Member of The Texas A&M University System and in addition to our program offerings in business including the Ph.D. in International Business, house state-of-the art research and teaching facilities that attract the world’s top researchers on trade issues,” Keck said, “We also host various conferences focusing on the Western Hemisphere and its social, business and political components. Our expertise in these areas will be readily available for our Central American partners as they establish themselves here in Laredo.”

According to City of Laredo figures, the Port of Laredo is currently the sixth largest commercial port in the United States, generating more than $173 billion in international trade annually. The City has four international bridges, two of which serve exclusively for heavy trailer traffic. The Laredo International Airport has invested $150 million in infrastructure during the last few years.

City of Laredo officials say that Laredo is currently the number one inland port in terms of volume of commercial operation related to NAFTA. According to the City, the cost of landing and parking at Laredo International Airport is the most competitive compared to many other international airports in U.S. cities utilized for the transport of national and international cargo.

Additional information on the First Business Roundtable Laredo-Central America can be obtained by contacting the City of Laredo City Manager’s Office at 791.7302 or clicking on www.laredocafta.com

For more information on TAMIU, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

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