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ACTING DIRECTOR ZAK AND MEXICAN SECRETARY TLLEZ OPEN USTDA CONFERENCE ON BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS IN INFRASTRUCTURE
USTDA Awards Grants Totaling More Than $1.7 Million to Further National Infrastructure Program Priorities

Mexican Secretary of the Economy Eduardo Sojo discusses Mexico's National Infrastructure Program at the opening of the Building Partnerships in Infrastructure conference
Mexican Secretary of the Economy Eduardo Sojo discusses Mexico's National Infrastructure Program at the opening of the Building Partnerships in Infrastructure conference

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (February 27, 2008) – Promoting the development of transportation, energy and environmental projects under Mexico's National Infrastructure Program is the focus of a USTDA-sponsored conference that opened today at the Marquis Reforma Hotel in Mexico City. The event, which continues through February 28th, attracted approximately 200 participants, including Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation Luis Téllez, Mexican Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Agustín Carstens, Mexican Secretary of Energy Georgina Kessel, Mexican Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Rafael Elvira, Mexican Secretary of the Economy Eduardo Sojo and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. The conference is designed to foster closer relationships between U.S. industry and Mexican decision makers responsible for the development of National Infrastructure Program projects.

Recognizing the importance of infrastructure development to Mexico's economic development and competitiveness, the Calderón Administration has placed a high priority on increasing Mexico's investment in infrastructure from three to eight percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2012. As a first step toward achieving this goal, President Calderón launched the National Infrastructure Program in July 2007, which outlines goals and strategies to increase the coverage, quality and competitiveness of Mexico's transportation, energy and environmental infrastructure. This new focus on infrastructure presents over $141 billion in new opportunities for U.S. firms.

"The implementation of the National Infrastructure Program presents an important opportunity for the United States and Mexico to deepen their economic ties and strengthen the global competitiveness of our North American partnership," said USTDA Acting Director Leocadia I. Zak in remarks at today's opening plenary.

Under the theme U.S. and Mexico: Building Partnerships in Infrastructure, this week's conference was organized to assist U.S. companies in identifying business opportunities and securing contracts associated with National Infrastructure Program projects. More than 35 project profiles are being presented on major infrastructure plans. Projects range in size from $45 million to $2 billion, with anticipated completion in 2012.

Reflecting the U.S. government's commitment to infrastructure development in Mexico, Acting Director Zak signed grant agreements today totaling more than $1.7 million to further five projects that support National Infrastructure Program objectives. The grants will be used to fund separate studies on plans to expand Puebla International Airport, Querétaro International Airport, and San Luis Potosí International Airport; a study on a proposed municipal water desalination facility for the Municipality of Puerto Peñasco in the State of Sonora; and technical assistance to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad in strengthening environmental management at the power plants, substations, and power transmission and distribution facilities that it operates. Additional information on the grants is contained in a separate information sheet.

The event has garnered a number of private sector sponsors, including ProMéxico, FedEx Express Mexico, CH2M HILL, DarkNet Communications, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Bancomer, Birdair, ICA Fluor, Kansas City Southern de Mexico, McDermott International, and Michael Baker Corporation. In addition to the U.S. Commercial Service, other supporting organizations include the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the Railway Supply Institute, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association. Officials from international lending institutions, including the Inter-American Development Bank, Nacional Financiera, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are also present to discuss available loan and insurance programs.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

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