Published Feb 17, 2023 by Gabby Aslaksen
The Greater Houston Partnership’s International Investment and Trade team traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with various government and government-related agencies as part of continued efforts to align our activities in Houston with those at the national level. The Partnership team also provided the Houston business community’s perspective on key trade issues.
The visit began with a meeting with President and Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Reta Jo Lewis and her team for a dialogue on the funding opportunities for Houston companies that are interested in exporting abroad. Texas is the largest export state in the country and Houston is well known as a center for global commerce; both are major markets for Ex-Im Bank.
Through its new Make More in America Initiative, the Bank is also providing competitive tools to companies seeking to invest in and create jobs in the U.S market. The Partnership has been a proud and well-established supporter of Ex-Im Bank and looks forward to building on our work and welcoming Chair Lewis to Houston in the future.
The delegation met with members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an in-depth briefing on recent international trade developments and regional activities in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The Chamber and the Partnership are long-standing partners committed to continuing our collaboration on key international topics, especially as they relate to trade and foreign investment.
Later this month, the Partnership and the U.S. Chamber will co-host the Advance with Africa initiative, which will bring together small and medium-sized businesses and the African business community in Houston for a robust discussion on the economic opportunities available in this dynamic region.
As the World Bank Private Sector Liaison Office, the delegation also had an opportunity to meet with Lisa Castro, World Bank PSLO Coordinator, and Danica Starks, Advisor to the U.S. Executive Director and Head of the DOC Multilateral Development Bank Group, to discuss engagement opportunities for Houston companies and World Bank tender and procurement projects abroad. The World Bank, along with other federal agencies, offers public funding opportunities, advocacy, counseling, and other critical services to companies interested in taking advantage of those projects. The group also had a chance to meet Adriana Kugler, Executive Director for the United States at the World Bank Group, and former University of Houston professor.
The delegation ended the day with a visit to the U.S Trade and Development Agency’s headquarters to re-engage with the agency on work focused on the energy transition, infrastructure development, healthcare, and other critical technologies. The USTDA offers project support through feasibility study funding and other important services that are essential to companies looking for investment opportunities around the world. The Partnership has been a Making Global Local partner since 2012 and was the first EDO to join the initiative. Over the years, the Partnership has worked with USTDA on reverse trade missions, export workshops, and promoting trade opportunities for Houston companies. We look forward to continuing this work in 2023 and beyond.
The delegation met with International Trade Administration’s Advocacy Center representatives on Wednesday, where we discussed how the Center primarily promotes exports to maintain and generate U.S. jobs. The Center helps to provide Houston companies with the resources necessary to enter new foreign markets. The organization develops support by coordinating U.S. government agencies’ strategic efforts to ensure U.S. companies win bids on foreign tenders against competing international firms.
The Partnership team also had the opportunity to meet with Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, and Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program, who lead the government's twofold mission to help small- and mid-size enterprises by attracting foreign business to the United States and demystifying exporting abroad.
The delegation will attend this year's SelectUSA Investment Summit to join the government's efforts to boost the economy, generate employment opportunities, and increase American competitiveness. Notably, the Partnership team will make the case to international corporations that Houston remains the best place to conduct business.
These meetings pave the way for future progress in attracting foreign direct investment in Houston, as well as enabling local businesses to prosper through efforts abroad. The Partnership looks forward to more opportunities to build Houston’s status as a global trade hub.
Learn more about international business in Houston.
Josefina Echeverria also contributed to this report.