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Houston-Mexico Business and Tourism Connections Bolstered through Mission

Published Apr 20, 2022 by Javier Vargas

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Susan Davenport speaking during Mexico mission

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One of several meetings during the Houston Week Mexico mission

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Greater Houston Partnership, and Houston First Corp. led an economic development trip to Mexico last month as part of an aggressive strategy to reinforce Houston’s position as the top city for global trade and business. This was Houston’s first international investment and trade mission since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mexico is Houston’s second largest international trade partner with average trade totaling $22.2 billion annually over the last decade. The region is also home to a thriving community of more than 590,000 Houstonians who were born in Mexico.

During the weeklong visit to Monterrey and Mexico City, a delegation of business and civic leaders undertook several high-level governmental and business development meetings. Discussions largely centered around trade and business priorities between Mexico and Houston, particularly on future opportunities in manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, life sciences, and innovation.  

The delegation met with a number of officials in Mexico, including: 

  • Samuel Alejandro Garcia Sepúlveda, Governor, State of Nuevo León, Mexico
  • Mayor Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, City of Monterrey
  • Tatiana Clouthier, Minister of Economy, Mexico
  • Roberto Velasco, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico 
  • Miguel Torruco, Secretary of Tourism, Mexico 
  • Francisco Cervantes Diaz, President, Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE)
  • Martha Herrera Gonzalez, Secretary of Equality and Inclusion, State of Nuevo León

“Houston consistently ranks among the top markets for international companies looking to establish or strengthen ties in the U.S.," Mayor Turner said. "With an active port, a talented and diverse workforce, and continued development in sectors such as healthcare, life sciences, and technology, the City is a hub for innovation and development. We look forward to strengthening our ties with Mexico and emphasizing Houston’s global position as a prime location for business and enterprise." 

In addition to Mayor Turner, members of the regional business delegation included:

  • Susan Davenport, Senior Vice President and Chief Economic Development Officer, Greater Houston Partnership 
  • John Cypher, Vice President, International Investment and Trade, Greater Houston Partnership
  • Michael Heckman, President and CEO, Houston First
  • David Robinson, Council Member, City of Houston 
  • Andy Icken, Chief Development Officer, City of Houston
  • Mario Diaz, Director, Houston Airport System Director
  • Charles Foster, Chairman, Foster LLP
  • Deanea LeFlore, Senior Director of Partnerships, The Ion
  • Karlo Morgado, Senior Vice President, International Banking Manager, Amegy Bank
  • Zaida Saliba, Senior Vice President, International Banking Relationship Manager, Amegy Bank
  • Hong Ogle, President, Bank of America Houston/Division Executive, Bank of America Private Bank 
  • Pierre Puget, Deputy Head/Proviseur, The AWTY International School
  • Jason Stevens, President & CEO, Mitsubishi International Corporation and Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas).
  • Tangela Bond, Project Manager and Business Development, The KBC Houston

International business plays a large role in Houston business, with more than 17% of the region’s economy tied to exports alone. Learn more about Houston’s global business ties during the Partnership’s International Business Month in May, including the State of Houston’s Global Economy on May 20. 

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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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