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Going Global: The Role of Trade in our Economy

This week, I’m taking off to Mexico City with Texas State University, who is establishing its first international alumni chapter in the history of the University. Mexico is a country with deep ties to Texas and to Texas State University. So, in the spirit of this trip, I’m taking a look at why international business is critical to the Texas economy.
 
Texas is the top exporting state in the U.S. globally – more than California and New York. You may be thinking it’s due to energy or oil and gas. Actually, Texas is the largest exporter of technology in the U.S. It’s estimated that trade supports more than one million jobs in the state. This is true of course for large cities with multinational companies like Houston or Dallas, but its also true for smaller communities in the state like Laredo, Kyle, and San Marcos. 
 
Our regional companies are increasingly selling their products and services across the globe. When I was working as the VP for Global Corporate Recruitment at the Austin Chamber, I was always surprised at the number of small businesses who were working with clients and partners in countries across Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
 
At GSMP, we’ve been working hard to make sure our region is no longer a secret to international audiences. Many Mexican business leaders are very familiar with Central Texas through historic ties, existing trade, or world-class shopping. However they may not know about the strength of Texas State University, or of the available talent to be found in the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Now we’re taking our message to Mexico as wells as Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
 
In April, San Marcos was one of six Central Texas communities that hosted the America’s Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This economic development benchmarking tour brought together 50 decision-makers from 29 countries around North and South America in addition to Germany and Israel. Along with 15 U.S. Government officials, they came to learn about the Central Texas economy, and explore potential opportunities for collaboration and partnership with our universities and companies. There has been tremendous follow up after this tour with significant interest in Texas State University, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, and STAR Park.
 
We’re also working on increasing our visibility in European markets. European countries are the top sources of FDI in Texas (UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Spain). And Texas is the largest exporter to the European Union ($27 billion in 2015). Many of our local companies have European parent companies (Mensor – A Wiki Company, CFAN – a joint venture between GE and SNECMA) or European clients (Thermon, RSI). 
 
Last month, I was the Master of Ceremonies for the 6th Annual Texas EU Business Summit organized by The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for European Studies and the World Affairs Council of Austin in partnership with Austin Community College, St. Edward’s University and Texas State University. Over 150 business, government and economic development leaders attended the summit to discuss opportunities in the EU in terms of international trade, exports and economic development. This is a timely discussion, particularly given the decision by Britain to leave the EU, as well as ongoing conversations regarding trade agreements. 
 
There is a world of opportunity (pun intended) in global trade and investment by establishing relationships and strengthening partnerships with our friends to the South, North, and across the sea. GSMP participates in these events to help to strengthen these partnerships, not just globally but with our regional neighbors.
 
Some say love makes the world go round (and it does) but, in today’s global marketplace, it’s international business that makes the world go round.