Houston Community News >> Houston Mayor Heads to China

7/16/2006 Houston-- Mayor Bill White headed for China last Thursday, embarking on his first international trade mission. "Ninety-eight percent of my job is right here in Houston," White said. "I do not like to travel."

White will lead a 64-member delegation on an eight-day trip to the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Dalian and Beijing. Travel expenses for the mayor, two city council members and city officials are being covered by local donations, said Frank Michel, White's spokesman, who is also going on the trip.

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White decided to lead this trade mission because of the size of the Chinese market and its business ties with Houston, such as its thirst for energy. Several of the people touring China with White are energy company leaders. "China is the world's second-largest economy. It's the world's fastest-growing economy," he said. "We want to do what we can to put Houstonians in the best position to benefit and to have a good relationship with Chinese businesses."

Last year, trade between the Houston area and China totaled $5.9 billion, up from $3.8 billion the previous year, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. "The fact that Mayor White will lead the delegation to China on his first outbound trade mission since he has been in office is proof of the major trade and cultural connections Houston shares with China," said Miguel San Juan, senior vice president for business development for the partnership.

(Contributed by JENALIA MORENO)