International Focus Magazine Vol. 4, #1 - Page 34

‘‘ These are exciting times for trade. In light of the many events this year which could act as a headwind to international trade, the Houston region has shown its soaring strength …” welcomes more than 150 trade del- egations every year from around 50 countries seeking substantive en- gagement with the Houston region. The Brookings Institution estimates that 17.3 percent of Houston’s economy was tied to exports in ’17, nearly double the 8.9 percent of ’03. Brookings also estimates that exports supported 330,340 jobs last year, up from 169,460 jobs in ’03. Factor in imports of steel, plastics and chemi- cals that go into locally manufactured products and the share of Houston’s economy tied to global trade is un- doubtedly much higher. Over 8,000 ships call on the Port of Houston annually, and the Houston Airport System handles more than 11 million international passengers each year. Houston is connected via water to more than 200 ports and via air to more than 70 foreign markets. One in four Houstonians, nearly 1.6 million residents, was born outside the U.S. Another 600,000 children under 17 have at least one foreign- born parent. As a group, Houston’s foreign-born population, their mi- nor and adult children equal about 2.6 million residents, or 38 percent of Houston’s total population. With- out them, Houston would slip from fifth to fifteenth in the metro rank- 34 iF Magazine | January 2019 ings. Put more bluntly, without our foreign-born population, Houston would be a second-tier metro. As one example, the community of Houstonians who identify as In- dian continues to thrive. The region has over 150,000 people of Indian descent. In November of this year, the Partnership organized a 39-per- son strong delegation to New Delhi and Mumbai led by Mayor Sylvester Turner. Institutions with innovative leaders on the delegation includ- ed: Station Houston, Space Center Houston Gateway to NASA JSC, Houston Airport System, City of Houston, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Houston First and dozens of others representing health- care, hospitality, education, informa- tion technology, law, real estate and the petrochemical industry. Houston exports Sept. ’18 YTD to India are up more than 67.5 per- cent -a huge amount advancing In- dia as one of Houston’s top 10 trade partners. Houston exports have grown this year to many other ma- jor markets including Mexico (27.8 percent), China (27.6 percent), the Netherlands (25.8 percent) and Ja- pan (49.6 percent). Houston exports to Taiwan are up ’18 YTD an aston- ishing 405.5 percent, moving Taiwan from Houston’s 27th largest trade partner to 14th. If the trend holds in Q4, then Taiwan will most certainly be included as a 2018 top 20 trade partner for Houston. These are exciting times for trade. In light of the many events this year which could act as a headwind to in- ternational trade, the Houston region has shown its soaring strength and the Partnership will continue to monitor and advance the global conversation for the benefit of our nearly 1,200 member companies and the Houston region as a whole. Josh Davis, Director, International Trade - Greater Houston Partnership