CHICAGO, November 20, 2003 – The City of Chicago today submitted its notification of interest to become the permanent host of the Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). With the full support of the city’s diplomatic and business leadership, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley entered the competition to become the Western Hemisphere’s trade headquarters.
Mayor Daley designated World Business Chicago (WBC), a public-private economic development and marketing organization he chairs, to file with FTAA Co-Chairs Brazil and the United States. The submission includes letters of support from the 69-nation Consular Corps at Chicago, the World Trade Center Chicago, the Metropolitan Caucus of (271) Mayors, the multinational business Board of WBC, and Mayor Daley.
Daley wrote that Chicago would be the “ideal home for the Secretariat” because it is a “truly global, multi-cultural, business-focused city that offers unrivaled access throughout the western hemisphere” and could provide the proposed Secretariat with the best access to the European and Asian business capitals. Chicago is a global business center that is substantially engaged in every economic sector. It is the Western hemisphere’s #1 intermodal container handler, #1 airport hub (with 428 non-stop flights per week to FTAA countries), and #1 communications hub (handling 50% of the world’s Internet traffic). Metropolitan Chicago’s vast ethnic diversity and absence of a majority race offer the FTAA a neutral location in which to operate.
Chicago is home to a Latin and Caribbean population of 1.3 million out of Chicago’s total population of more than 8 million. Large numbers speak the FTAA languages of Portuguese, French, English, and Spanish.
FTAA area countries have more than 200 parent companies in the Chicago region, employing more than 23,000 people. Additionally,greater Chicago-based companies have operations in 30 of the 34 FTAA area countries.
“For decades Chicago has worked with quiet respect to help grow stronger economies throughout Canada and Latin America. We believe we have everything the FTAA Secretariat needs to do what it must – build better lives for all the people of the New World,” said WBC executive director Paul O’Connor.
WBC markets Chicago’s advantages, and coordinates business development efforts. For more information, visit www.worldbusinesschicago.com.