Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker Officially Launches Houston's Partnership with Rio de Janeiro
Cooperation between Both Cities to Focus on Bilateral Business



March 28, 2012 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Mayor Eduardo Paes today signed a formal agreement of bilateral partnership to create and strengthen trade and business ties.


“Rio de Janeiro and Houston have much in common, so it makes sense that we strengthen our connections,” said Mayor Parker. “Houston is the world’s energy capital and Rio’s growing notoriety in this industry creates opportunity for Houston companies. Our port helps deliver goods Rio's businesses need to thrive.  This agreement is mutually beneficial.


The memorandum of understanding states that both cities will promote cooperation and facilitate exchanges in the areas of business promotion services, emergency management, education, healthcare, IT related to energy industry, logistics, oil and gas production, technology and methodology, and sustainable development. The agreement also calls for an action plan – a formalized, written guideline of activities that each city will do to further ties in the areas specified. The action plan will be created and agreed upon three months from the signing date, and is effective for two years.


Located on an inlet along the Atlantic coast, Rio de Janeiro is a major player in Brazil’s business economy. It is home to companies that make up 50 percent of the Brazilian stock market, according to Rio Negocios. It is the second largest city in Brazil, with a population of 5.9 million. Its economy is based, in part, on oil refineries and shipbuilding as well as steel, petrochemical, gas, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. 


This is the second such agreement signed by Mayor Parker on the trade mission she is currently leading in Brazil. Organized by the Greater Houston Partnership, the purpose of the mission is to capitalize on the many synergies between Houston and Brazil, including energy, transportation/logistics, construction/engineering, medicine, education and high tech enterprises; expand business opportunities for Houston companies in Brazil; increase opportunities for investment in Houston; and establish strong, friendly ties between Houston and key counterparts in Brazil, especially within the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.


The Houston/Galveston Customs District ranks the U.S. as Brazil’s largest trade partner. Total annual trade between Houston and Brazil has increased by 37.2 percent from $11.3 billion in 2010 to $15.5 billion in 2011. Exports totaled $9.1 billion and imports totaled $6.4 billion.