Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker to Lead Greater Houston Partnership Investment and Trade Delegation to South Korea and Tokyo




September 24, 2014 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker and a 30-member delegation of local elected officials and business and community leaders depart Saturday for a week-long Greater Houston Partnership investment and trade mission to Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan.


“With the start of Korean Airlines’ new non-stop air service to Seoul and United Airlines’ addition of a second daily flight to Tokyo, there is increased opportunity for Houston companies interested in pursuing expanded business in these key markets,” said Mayor Parker.  “Houston is an international city with a very large Asian American population.  These missions allow us to not only facilitate high level meetings between Houston based businesses and their counterparts around the world, but they also help strengthen our cultural ties and elevate Houston’s position as a key player in the global marketplace.”

The South Korea portion of the mission will include meetings with the mayor of Seoul, the Vice Ministry of Trade, Chairman of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the CEO of the Federation of Korean Industries, the US Ambassador, Samsung officials and Korean Airlines executives.   In Tokyo, the mayor will meet with US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, Japan’s Minister on Women’s Initiatives, Japan’s business federation and Toshiba and Hitachi officials.  In both Seoul and Tokyo, there will be interviews with local media and opportunities to visit with business leaders about investment opportunities in Houston. 

“Our economy is diverse and robust, and it matches up well with the types of industries that Japanese and Korean entrepreneurs and business people are pursuing,” said Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey. “Houston is a global leader in energy, life sciences, distribution and logistics and advanced manufacturing.  This is a wonderful opportunity to expand our considerable cultural and business ties with these important global markets.”

“Houston is enjoying record-setting growth in the area of international air travel and the city’s close ties to Asia are playing a key role in driving that overall success,” says Diaz.  “Asia is one of the fastest growing regions on the Houston Airport System’s international route map, and with the recent addition of new foreign flag carriers and other expanded service that growth promises to get even stronger moving forward.”

This will be the fourth investment and trade mission Mayor Parker and the GHP have led together.  Previous trips have pursued opportunities in China, the Middle East and South Africa.  The delegation will include Houston City Council Member Jack Christie and representatives from the Texas Medical Center, Houston energy firms, the University of St. Thomas and the local banking industry.  Also accompanying the mayor are Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz and Mayor Parker’s Chief Development Officer Andy Icken.

According to data from the GHP, Houston's ranks as South Korea’s 7th largest international trade partners with annual trade reaching $6.3 billion.  Houston is Japan’s 11th largest international trade partner.  More than 580 Houston companies report trade ties with Japan and 94 Japanese subsidiaries have operations in Houston.

About Greater Houston Partnership
The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the world’s best places to live, work and build a business. It represents 11 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller. With more than 1,400 member organizations, GHP represents approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce.