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Rotterdam and Houston Strengthen Economic Relationship During Digital Trade Forum  

Published Nov 19, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta


The Maas with the Kralingse Plas in Rotterdam, Guido Pijper

Officials in Houston and the European city of Rotterdam held a digital trade forum this week to strengthen economic ties between the two cities. 

Rotterdam and Houston share a number of characteristics as energy hubs and port cities. The forum that took place November 16-18 focused around Energy 2.0 and the application of hydrogen, carbon capture and digital tech in the energy sector. 

Rotterdam Partners, the economic development organization for the Dutch city, and the Greater Houston Partnership signed a memorandum of understanding on November 16 aimed at strengthening the economic relationship between the two regions. The Netherlands is currently Houston’s fifth largest international trading partner, averaging $9 billion in goods and services traded annually over the last decade. 

“As the Energy Capital of the World, Houston is uniquely positioned to lead the transition to a cleaner, more efficient, and more sustainable lower carbon world,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “The region is committed to working with our global partners on tackling this challenge head on and identifying solutions for the future. As a top investor to this region and an established leader in Energy 2.0 activity, the Netherlands is a natural partner for Houston.”

Wilbert Lek, Director of Rotterdam Partners, said the collaboration offers Dutch and American companies the opportunity to expand networks and explore new business markets. “The many shared similarities between Rotterdam and Houston make the exchange of knowledge very important,” he said. 

A longtime hub for the oil and gas industry, Houston is now focused on helping lead the global energy transition to a more sustainable, lower carbon future. This includes developing a robust Energy 2.0 ecosystem that includes renewable energy production and new energy tech. Energy transition is likewise a top priority in Rotterdam. During this digital trade forum, participants learned more about business opportunities in the energy transition in both Texas and the Netherlands, with a specific focus on hydrogen, carbon capture and digital tech. Dutch and American companies also had the chance to network with relevant discussion partners during pre-arranged matchmaking sessions.

Officials from both Houston and Rotterdam cited the economic similiarities between the two cities as an opportunity for more focused collaboration and exchange of knowledge. Houston offers Dutch companies a prime position for doing business in the U.S. and across the Americas. 

More than 30 Houston firms operate 47 subsidiary locations in the Netherlands, including BMC Software, Kinder Morgan, Paradigm and Superior Energy. Nearly 40 Dutch firms operate 96 subsidiaries in the Houston area, including Brunel International, LyondellBasell and Stork.

Learn more about international business in Houston and see the latest Global Houston report that includes international trading relationships. 

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