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Houston Looks to Expand Economic Relations with South Africa

February 7, 2014

  © Houston Airport System
  Annual trade between Houston and South Africa totaled $1.3 billion in 2012.
Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz were in South Africa from February 2-8 to discuss commerce and investment opportunities between the Houston region and South African cities. The delegation was comprised of The Greater Houston Partnership, elected officials, top business leaders and industry executives.

Discussions focused on how to increase trade and investment between the Houston region and leading South African cities including Johannesburg, Gauteng and Cape Town.

“This will be the first visit of a Houston mayor to South Africa in more than a decade,” said Mayor Parker. “There is great potential to strengthen the economic ties between us, especially in the energy sector. With each trade mission, we also look to grow our aviation ties and promote the planned spaceport at Ellington Airport.  Anytime we can improve the options for getting from Houston to other points in the world, we make it easier for businesses here at home that want to pursue new opportunities.”

The delegation hosted a “Doing Business with Houston” seminar for South African business people and investors. In addition, the group met with high-level government officials and business decision-makers and held a press briefing on the opportunities for increasing trade and tourism between the two regions.

"We already have a strong track record of training African aviation professionals from all three major airports in South Africa," said Diaz. "We are looking forward to starting a vigorous dialogue with officials from South African Airways and the airport while we are in the Johannesburg area. We will also meet with members of the aerospace industry as we continue to pursue our spaceport license at Ellington Airport."

Houston and the Republic of South Africa have strong economic and cultural ties. Annual trade between Houston and South Africa totaled $1.3 billion in 2012.

“We are excited about the growth prospects this trade mission will bring for both our region and an important emerging economic power like South Africa, but we especially see great value for as a primary business destination for the country’s expanding firms looking to do business overseas,” said Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey.

For more information on business and trade opportunities in Houston, visit
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