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Mexicans in the US are garnering more international clout if the third annual World-Wide Association of Mexicans Abroad conference is any indication. A Chinese government representative made her way to the conference in Las Vegas to court Mexican businesses. Ky Plaskon reports.
PLASKON: The conference opened with the usual party, singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the crowd chanting the Mexican National Anthem.
PLASKON: This years conference features speakers such as William Sanchez of the U-S Department of Justice about creating a new office for the protection of immigrants. Also Hector Barreto Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and there's Lin Liu from the office of the Mayor of Beijing, China.
LIU: China is a lion and it is a lion, it has been sleeping for 5,000 years, now it wake up and want everything, want food, eat drink, want to learn about everything.
PLASKON: She is a facilitator for businesses looking to open up in China. She wants to encourage the sale of Mexican cultural products there to foster a cross culture understanding and subsequently better business relationships. The visit is also an olive branch to Mexican business says conference organizer and association President Carlos Villanueva.
VILLANUEVA: For Mexicans, China at the beginning was a commercial enemy, now the Mexican business community is thinking that it is time to work with China as a partner.
PLASKON: He says China is looking for inroads to the US market and Mexico is the path.
VILLANUEVA: They want to take advantage of the NAFTA that Mexico has with the United States, they are willing to go to Mexico to set up factories to set up branch offices to have more market and take advantage of NAFTA.
PLASKON: The idea is for China to use Mexican distribution centers to sell products in the US.
VILLANUEVA: Exactly, that is one of the strategies that they want to follow.
PLASKON: In exchange China is willing to open up it's markets to Mexican Products says Liu. Especially Mexican food which is only available in the most exclusive restaurants she says.
LIU: In the fancy fancy hotel and the regular people who go by bicycle they can never afford it. And the price is even more expensive than America. So I hope more Mexican restaurants open in China, make more fun.
PLASKON: A delegation from the Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad is planning a trip to China next month to scout it as a market for Mexican products. Mexican food isn't the only possible export considered exclusive in China. The association hopes to promote the export of coffee and organic produce to that tea drinking and agriculture-based economy.
Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR.