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HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership, in cooperation with the City of Houston, the Mayor’s International Affairs and Development Council for Europe, the Houston Airport System, Port of Houston Authority, the U.S. Commercial Service-Houston, and the European bilateral chambers of commerce in Houston, will lead a trade and investment delegation to key European cities from June 17 to July 1, 2009. The delegation will visit Milano, Italy; Eindhoven and Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Hamburg and Frankfurt, Germany; and Moscow, Russia. It will team up with TexasOne, the economic development arm of the State of Texas, during the Frankfurt portion.

Each of the selected cities serves as the commercial and business center of its respective country. Milano is Italy’s energy industry hub. Hamburg and Frankfurt are key business and finance centers for Western Germany. Hamburg is a hub for transportation, particularly shipping while Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank. The Netherlands is one of the U.S.’s biggest foreign investors, and Moscow serves as Russia’s energy center.

The purpose of the economic development mission is to identify key trade and investment opportunities for European companies in the Houston region. The Houston delegation will meet with principal decision makers of the prospective European investors and trade partners to discuss current incentives, tax regime, legal climate, financing, labor, transportation, economic development and municipal support. The delegation seeks European companies with expansion capabilities in several industrial sectors, including energy and petrochemicals, engineering and construction, food, transportation, health sciences, aviation and aerospace, nano- and biotechnologies, manufacturing, trade and finance.

Europe is the Houston region’s largest import and export partner. In 2008, trade between Houston and Europe totaled $61.5 billion, up 21.8% from 2007.

The Partnership remains committed to increasing foreign trade in the Houston region and enhancing Houston’s visibility as a global city. This trade mission to Europe is very much in line with the goals of the Partnership’s 5-year marketing plan, Opportunity HoustonSM. Opportunity HoustonSM, chaired by Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr, is an aggressive five-year marketing program that will generate leads for economic development organizations throughout Houston’s 10-county region.

A direct result of the Greater Houston Partnership’s 10-year Strategic Plan, Opportunity HoustonSM is the $40 million marketing and lead generation vehicle which will help create 600,000 regional jobs, attract $60 billion in capital investment and expand foreign trade by $120 billion for the greater Houston area by the end of 2015.

Opportunity HoustonSM targets five major economic sectors: aviation and aerospace, energy and petrochemical, medical and biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology. Using an econometrics study by The Perryman Group and information from Mayor Bill White’s Economic Development Task Force, these industries were identified as critical to Houston’s future prosperity.

Houston ties to Europe:

    · Approximately 430 foreign-owned companies in Houston are European owned.

    · Nearly 1,200 Houston firms trade goods and services with Europe.

    · More than 580 Houston companies have subsidiaries in Europe.

    · The United Kingdom has the largest international presence in Houston, employing nearly 28,000 local workers and having 102 foreign-owned establishments. The Netherlands ranks second, employing more than 22,700 local workers and having 38 foreign-owned establishments. France, Italy and Germany rank among the top ten.

U.S. ties to Europe:

    · The 27 European Union (EU) nations invested $1.4 trillion in the U.S. in 2007, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the total foreign direct investment that year.

    · The United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands were the top three investment destinations for U.S. business among the EU countries in 2007.

    · Two-way trade (exports plus imports) between the U.S. and the EU totaled $47 billion in 2008, representing a compound annual growth rate (AGR) of 18.03% since 2003.

    · Chemicals, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products were the top three industry sectors in U.S. goods exports to the EU in 2008.

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