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Bayou Business Download: A Visit from the President of Panama and the Impact of the Panama Canal

Published Jul 29, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta


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Panama President Cortizo (center) with Partnership Chair Amy Chronis and Bob Harvey

In this episode of Bayou Business Download we discuss the recent visit of the President of Panama to Houston. President Laurentino Cortizo came to Houston in July  to celebrate the five year anniversary of the expansion of the Panama Canal and discuss opportunities to further expand trade between Houston and Asia and other global markets through Panama. We're joined by John Cypher, Senior Director of International trade and investment for the Americas at the Partnership. 

Some of the topics discussed in this episode include: 

  • The relationship between Houston and Panama 
  • How the expansion of the Panama Canal impacted trade through Houston. 
  • The types of goods and products that most often travel through the Canal to and from Houston. 
  • The impact of planned growth of the Houston Ship Channel. 
  • The challenges and opportunity that lie ahead for Houston in foreign trade

Learn more about international business here in Houston and foreign trade

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International Business

City of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership Lead Mission to France to Grow Business and Cultural Ties

6/27/22
HOUSTON (June 27, 2022) - The City of Houston and the Greater Houston Partnership are leading a trade and investment mission to Paris, France this week.  The mission will focus on promoting Houston as a leader in innovation, energy transition, and education while enhancing key government and business relationships between the Houston region and Paris.  Targeted business sectors include energy and innovation with ties in Houston and France. The delegation has several scheduled meetings with high-level government officials and representatives.  The Houston-Galveston Customs District is the fourth busiest gateway for U.S.-French trade, and France is Houston's sixth-largest European trading partner. From 2012 to 2021, trade between Houston and France averaged $4.2 billion annually and was valued at $5.5 billion in '21. "Our priority is to build a more robust trade relationship between Houston and France, and this trip is an essential mission to enrich Houston's ties with France and explore new business opportunities that will enhance our local economy with jobs and investments," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "As a city of innovation, we value France - based businesses with established operations in our city and welcome others to explore the opportunities for investment, business development and tourism available in Houston. Our delegation will expand on Houston's global city status that makes Houston strong and unique." Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was scheduled to lead the delegation, will remain in Houston to attend to a personal matter. Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex Tatum, who chairs the City Council Economic Development Committee, will handle business meetings and cultural events scheduled during the weeklong mission. "I am excited about the opportunity to represent Houston in Paris officially. The mission will put Houston in the international spotlight, capturing our city's role as a leader in innovation, aerospace, energy transition, and education. When we position ourselves to build international business ties, the entire city can potentially benefit through jobs and growth in our economy," said Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Castex Tatum. On Monday, the delegation joined Valerie Baraban, the Consul General of France in Houston, on a tour of the Musée d'Orsay. The museum's leadership visited Houston in 2019 to build local relationships. The delegation also attended a Bilateral Business Trade and Investment Forum with the Paris Chamber of Commerce. They spoke about Houston leading in startup ecosystems throughout the energy and medical sectors. The first day of the trade mission will end with a meeting with the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy to discuss energy, technology and trade between Houston and Paris. "As Houston works to lead the global transition to an energy-abundant, low-carbon future, the exchange of ideas and information with innovative cities around the world is critical," said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. "We are excited to lead a business delegation alongside the City of Houston that will get the opportunity to see first-hand what is happening in energy and innovation with organizations in Paris. As the leading export market in the U.S. and a major hub for foreign direct investment, international business is a significant and growing part of our economy, and we look forward to productive meetings that we hope will spur further investment and trade activity for our region."  Houston's Business Ties with France  Twenty-five Houston firms operate 46 subsidiary locations in France, including Baker Hughes, Hines, Huntsman, NOV, and Schlumberger. Sixty-three French firms operate 112 subsidiaries in the Houston area, including Air Liquide, Arkema, EDF Trading North America, Engie North America, and Total Petrochemicals & Refining. Trade and cultural relationships with France are facilitated in Houston through the Consulate General of France, the French American Chamber of Commerce, the French Trade Commission (UBIFRANCE), the French Alliance, and the Texan French Alliance for the Arts. Three of Houston's 16 foreign-owned banks are from France: Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Natixis, and Société Générale. Nice, France, was designated as one of Houston's 19 international sister cities in 1973, More than 3,100 people living in metro Houston were born in France. The delegation also has scheduled a tour of Interstellar Labs, a visit to Station F, the world's largest startup campus, a meeting with Total Energies, and will attend the opening of Rice University's first international campus, the Rice University Paris Center, with Rice President David Leebron and Provost Reginald DesRoches, who will become Rice's president in July. The  delegation includes City Council Member Karla Cisneros, Pierre Bang, President and CEO, Total Energies, Jean-Loup Chrétien, retired astronaut and Tietronix Vice President of Research and Development, Alex Condon, CEO, Galen Data and Scott Gale of Halliburton, among others. Learn more about Houston's international business ties. 
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