Mayor's Office Press Release
City of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership Lead Mission to France to Grow Business and Cultural Ties
June 27, 2022 -- The City of Houston and the Greater Houston Partnership will lead a trade and investment mission to Paris, France, from June 27 to July 1, 2022.
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."
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.
Houston's Business Ties
- 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.
"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 Mayor Turner 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."
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.