Dallas-Fort Worth Delegation to Asia Fosters Stronger Relationships, Yields Positive Results

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

(FORT WORTH, Texas – October 9, 2014) – A North Texas delegation of 28 business leaders and elected officials returned last week from a productive trade delegation visit to Beijing and Shanghai, with some members traveling as well to Hong Kong and Tokyo. The group of 28 included Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, DFW International Airport Board Chair Lillie Biggins, Board Member William Tsao and CEO Sean Donohue, Fort Worth and Dallas Chamber executives, and representatives from Pier 1 Imports, Red Productions and Tarrant County College. The Fort Worth delegation spent one day in Nanjing touring the NGC Transmission plant, which is scheduled to open a new facility in Fort Worth in late 2014. Major operations, including research and development and manufacturing, will take place out of this facility in AllianceTexas Industrial Park. NGC President Dr. Gou Jianhui and Mayor Betsy Price signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to work together and explore future business opportunities and, in a surprise announcement, Dr. Gou shared with the delegation that the new Fort Worth facility will serve as the company’s North American headquarters. The delegation also participated in EB-5 meetings with partner Civitas Capital Group, which helps secure foreign investment for local economic development opportunities. These capital funds play a significant role in fostering economic development within municipalities in Texas and throughout the U.S. EB-5 seminars were held in both Beijing and Shanghai; the Shanghai meeting was also simulcast to two other Chinese municipalities. Additionally, several meetings were brokered with local AmCham groups, at which Dallas Regional Chamber President Dale Petroskey and Fort Worth Chamber Executive Vice President David Berzina discussed ongoing business-related initiatives that will support the new non-stop flights from DFW International Airport to Shanghai and Hong Kong. During the delegation’s trip, it was announced that the airport has sought approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch new international service between DFW and Beijing, China, beginning in the summer of 2015. The new route will connect one of the world’s most populous metropolitan regions with one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions. Airport CEO Donohue and Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) President Shi Boli signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 26. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said these types of air service and business development mission trips are priceless, allowing an international city like Fort Worth to build stronger relationships that support local trade, travel and jobs. “The meetings and initiatives we discussed with our global partners in China and Japan far exceeded our expectations,” said Mayor Price. “It’s all about making real and personal connections with our international trade partners. The direct flights to and from Shanghai and Hong Kong have already proven beneficial to our region in terms of landing new business opportunities abroad. The announcement about the new American Airlines direct flight between DFW and Beijing while we were in the Far East is yet another victory as we continue to expand our international routes.” Former Texas Transportation Commissioner Bill Meadows, who is now leading the high-speed rail initiative in Texas, joined the Fort Worth delegation in Tokyo, where the Chairman Emeritus of Central Japan Railways Company, Yoshiyuki Kasai, gave them an overview of their renowned high-speed rail system. The delegation, led by Mayor Price, Bill Meadows and David Berzina, expressed their strong desire to pursue a partnership that extends the high-speed rail connection from Dallas to Fort Worth. All parties involved deemed the trade mission a tremendous success and model for future international outreach. “We had strong regional collaboration from our counterparts in Dallas, along with excellent representation from the Fort Worth business community,” said Berzina. “This significantly elevated both the level of discussions and positive outcomes with our newest corporate client NGC and the other government representatives with whom we met. Every aspect of this international trip was a home run for our region and our city.”###About the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with 2,000 member businesses, has repeatedly been recognized as one of the nation’s top economic development organizations.  Through business-to-business marketing, educational events, economic development, workforce development and government advocacy, the Fort Worth Chamber assumes a leadership role in making Fort Worth, the 17th-largest city in the U.S., a premier location in which to live, work and do business.  For more information, please contact the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at (817) 338-3391 or visit www.fortworthecodev.com.