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Published: 11/18/2010

Toledo official to embark on Mexico trade trip

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's top economic development official will be in Mexico early next week for the administration's second international trade mission.

Dean Monske, deputy mayor for external affairs, will be in Saltillo, Mexico, for a two-day meeting dubbed "The New Routes of the Automotive Industry."

"The goal here is the same as it was with going to China," Mr. Monske said. "Our goal is to build relationships and to get people coming to Toledo."

The two-day trip begins Monday morning and will not involve taxpayer money, he said.

Mr. Monske, Mr. Bell, and a delegation of Toledo-area businessmen in September took an 11-day trip to China, where they met with about 120 chief executives in five different cities.

Mr. Monske said his invitation stemmed from meeting the Mexican Consulate in Detroit, Vicente Sanchez-Ventura.

"He is very good friends with Luis Rivas, who is the former plant manager at the Jeep plant here in Toledo," Mr. Monske said. "Because of that friendship, this whole thing was set in motion."

Mr. Rivas is director of operations in Mexico for Johnson Controls Inc.

Jeffrey Potter, president of Toledo Potter Development Corp., which is sponsoring the event, also will attend.

"Hopefully we can get companies to export their products to Mexico mainly due to their massive infrastructure in the millions of dollars," Mr. Potter said. "Dean is going to talk about the city of Toledo - that we have tough times too - and what Toledo is going to do to open up markets."

Mr. Monske's speech topic during the conference is "Economic Growth and Stimulation After the Crisis."

"This trip was a no-brainer because we had such success in China," he said.

Mr. Monske will be giving Mexican businessmen similar materials he distributed to Chinese businessmen and officials, as well as showing a video highlighting Toledo assets.

The Bell administration has repeatedly said Toledo is an easy sell because of the University of Toledo and the port, highways, and labor force.

A month after the China trip, Mayor Bell said he expected some sort of deal with a Chinese company within a year and possibly as early as six months. He said he could not reveal details.

Toledo Councilman Rob Ludeman, chairman of council's economic development committee, said last night he was pleased to learn of the Mexico trip.

"Anytime you make an outreach to international businesses, it is good for the city of Toledo," Mr. Ludeman said. "I know the Chinese businessmen who have visited here were pleasantly surprised, so if we can take advantage of some of these meetings I think that's great."

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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