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Banking Fort Worth, Dallas officials seeking business in Mexico

Fort Worth, Dallas officials seeking business in Mexico

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

From bottles of salsa to education to chemical plants, the North Texas delegation to Mexico has focused on business, trade and opportunity and not what any current presidential candidates have said, says Mayor Betsy Price.

Everywhere they’ve been it’s been brought up, Price said, and “they are nervous, particularly if we’re talking to investors.”

But, she noted, then “we get down to business.”

“Relations are built from city to city from the group to group,” she said. “That’s how we’ve got to do it and the state and federal government should start to listen to local leaders on that.”

The trade delegation includes Price, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, members of the Dallas and Fort Worth chambers, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, TCU, TCC, representatives from several business in the area and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The group visited Mexico City and Tuluca, a sister city to Fort Worth. The trip concluded today.

Price noted that trade between North Texas and Mexico was worth more than $1.3 billion in 2015 and everyone wants to do more.  

“When the two leaders from the largest cities in the Metroplex get together and travel together something good always happens and relationships are only strengthened,” said David Berzina, executive vice president of economic development at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

For Becky Renfro Barbolla, vice president of Renfro Foods is looking for new outlets for the Fort Worth company’s salsa.

And Michael Jacobsson, business and product development manager at Sid Richardson Carbon and Energy, is interested in locating a carbon black production facility in Mexico. The Fort Worth company, which has plants in Texas and Louisiana, said his firm is looking to build a chemical production facility in Mexico to serve customers in the auto and tire industry.

“The oil and gas markets are slowing deregulating here,” said Jacobsson, but “big changes are coming in the industry as a whole.”

Ed Reifenstahl of Texas Christian University said he was on the trip to make some connections for TCU’s MBA program. “We want to open our students up to have a global perspective,” he said.

Sheryl Harris, TCC’s director for program development/international initiatives, said the leaders she had met with were very interested in education and community colleges.

“They really want to build up their middle class and they don’t really have a community college system, so they were very interested in what we do and in setting up some system here,” she said.

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