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Fort Worth, Dallas mayors leading June trade mission to London, Paris and Brussels

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced in a news release Thursday, June 14, they will lead a June 17-22 trade mission to London, Paris and Brussels to promote economic development, business opportunities and tourism throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

“These trips are vital when it comes to building our business markets and fostering professional relationships,” Price said in the release. “With a positive, pro-business climate, talented workforce, strong economy and a great location, the DFW region is a great place to do business or visit.”

Delegates will meet with government officials, business executives and local leaders with aims to showcase the benefits of operating in DFW, the release said, adding that there are growing economic and commercial ties among the United Kingdom, Europe and DFW.

The release detailed that the U.K. and France combined are the largest foreign investors in Texas, with $6.7 billion in capital expenditures from 2011-2016, according to the latest figures from the governor’s office.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth region is the ideal location to grow and develop international businesses,” Rawlings said in the release. “As a hub of innovation and diversity, we look to strengthen the already deep connections North Texas has with our global partners.”

About 200 British-owned companies operate U.S. or North American headquarters and other facilities in DFW, the release said, including Barclays, BT Global Services and Smith & Nephew. Additionally, about 120 French companies operate in North Texas, including Airbus Helicopters, Nestlé Waters and Schneider Electric.

In 2017, the U.K. was DFW’s 11th largest export market at $706 million and its 8th largest import market at $1.5 billion, the release explained, adding that France is the region’s 15th largest export market at $446.6 million and its 10th largest import market at $1.23 billion.

In the last year-and-a-half, seven U.K.-based firms and three French-based companies have established new U.S. or North American facilities in DFW, including BAE Systems, Smith & Nephew and Zinwave from the U.K., and Airbus Helicopters, L’Oreal and Louis Vuitton from France.

In addition to discussing business opportunities and development, the mission also aims to emphasize the role of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in bridging North Texas and the U.K. and France. The release added that the U.K. is DFW’s No. 1 source for overseas visitors.

“Business continues to grow in Texas, with more headquarters citing DFW Airport as one of the top reasons for relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” Sean Donohue, DFW Airport CEO and mission delegate, said in the release. “We’re anticipating a record 73 million customers over the next 12 months, and we continue to work with our airline partners to provide more opportunities to enable commerce and connect people and cargo.”

Other delegates include regional business leaders and others from DFW Airport, the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, VisitDallas and Visit Fort Worth.

Additionally, the mayors will discuss urban mobility ideas that have flourished in the U.K., France and the DFW region, and members of the delegation and a dozen U.K. executives will take part in an International Business Roundtable to network and promote expanded economic opportunities between the two countries.

As part of a business and entrepreneurial study abroad program, a dozen students from Southern Methodist University will be at the event as well.

The release detailed that in London meetings are planned with:

— Lord Mayor Charles Bowman, the leader of the City of London Corporation, which is the municipal governing body of the City of London.

— Rajesh Agarwal, the deputy mayor of London for business, who chairs the promotional company for London.

— Executives with British Airways.

— Executives with U.K.-based Digital Shadows, a cybersecurity company that recently opened a new office in Dallas.

— The ministry of state for Europe and the Americas.

— Executives with Crossrail, which is developing a high-speed train running under central London.

In aims to promote tourism between DFW and the U.K., British travel media and tour operators will attend a special reception featuring Dallas-based band Castro, the Dallas Moving Cities art installation and a virtual reality experience; as well as Fort Worth chef Tim Love’s food and distiller Leonard Firestone from Fort Worth’s TX Whiskey and Whiskey Ranch.

In Paris, the release stated that meetings are planned with:

— Executives with Air France.

— The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which seeks to encourage economic progress and world trade.

— Executives with Louis Vuitton, who announced plans last fall to establish a new workshop in the DFW region.

The final leg of the mission will include meetings at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, the release said. The delegation will tour NATO headquarters and meet with the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison of Dallas.

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