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

Published Jun 27, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta

Mission to France Delegation

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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Mayor Turner, Partnership Lead Investment and Trade Mission to Japan

10/25/22
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Greater Houston Partnership embarked this week on an investment and trade mission to Japan to establish new avenues for cooperation in energy, innovation, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and transportation/mobility. During the week-long mission, Mayor Turner, Partnership CEO Bob Harvey, and delegates will meet with high-ranking government leaders and business executives in the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Chiba to promote Houston’s economic, governmental and cultural ties. The mayor also is scheduled to speak at the U.S.-Japan Council 2022 annual conference on the topic, "Leveraging Subnational Action to Solve Global Problems."  Day one of the official engagements included a briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Japan, followed by a meeting at JETRO. This nonprofit organization connects businesses with the resources they need to expand successfully to Japan. Later in the week, the delegation will travel to Chiba to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between the City of Houston and the City of Chiba. Mayor Turner will join the mayor of Chiba to reaffirm the Sister City Agreement executed on October 24, 1972, and vow to continue working in unison for the mutual benefit of our cities and people. "Houston’s Sister City relationship with Chiba City, established 50 years ago, is one example of the friendship that has contributed to our robust trade relationship," said Mayor Turner. "The relationship between the Port of Houston and ports in Japan are key to this trade growth, as is the more than 70 companies, including Daikin, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba, that continue to make major investments in our City." In 2021, Houston-Japan trade surged to a decade-high of $12 billion, according to the GHP. The increase in total trade can be attributed to the rise in the import value of industrial equipment, computers, electrical machinery, and parts, and motor vehicles and parts, as well as an increase in the export value of fuels and refined products, plastics, and plastic products, and organic chemicals. "The Greater Houston Partnership is excited to partner with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on a trade and investment mission to Japan, the largest foreign investor into the United States and one of Houston’s top 10 global trade partners. Trade between our regions has more than doubled over the past decade, and Houston is home to an impressive set of Japanese firms,» said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey. «International missions are an important part of our effort to strengthen Houston’s ties with our partners around the world and we’re looking forward to the discussions that will take place in Japan." Houston – Japan Business Facts: Thirteen Houston firms operate twenty-seven subsidiary locations in Japan, including Chevron, Halliburton, American Bureau of Shipping, and BMC Software. Seventy-one Japanese firms operate 242 subsidiaries in the Houston area, including JETRO, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Mitsui & Co. Of Houston’s 16 foreign-owned banks, three are from Japan: Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Trade and cultural relationships with Japan are facilitated in Houston through the Consulate General of Japan, the Japan Business Association, and the Japan-America Society of Houston (JASH). "Japan is Houston’s fourth largest Asian trading partner. Over the next several days, I will focus on encouraging Japanese companies to increase their business in the City of Houston. We have the workforce and infrastructure and can offer a stable and reliable partnership," said Mayor Turner. Other engagements during the investment and trade mission will include a briefing and ride on the Japanese bullet train in coordination with Texas Central Rail and Japan Central Railway. The night before returning home on Oct. 30,  the delegation will attend the Houston Ballet’s first-ever performance of Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake.in Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Japan. Learn more about Houston's international business ties. 
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