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Australian State Formalizes Free Trade Ties in Texas

Australian State Formalizes Free Trade Ties in Texas

HOUSTON, TEXAS–Governor Rick Perry claimed another victory in the state to state competition for job growth by luring the Australian Queensland Government to open a North American Trade and Investment Office in Houston. In an opening ceremony Wednesday night, Gov. Perry welcomed Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and the new trade office team to Texas.

“I congratulate everyone involved in bringing our states closer together,” Perry stated, “and I look forward to hearing more great things coming out of the Texas-Queensland friendship in the days and years to come.”

Premier Newman opened his remarks with some humorous jabs at Gov. Perry about the vastness of Queensland, roughly two and one-half times the size of Texas, but then smiled and admitted that Texas’ population is roughly four times that of Queensland.

“The opening of this office demonstrates the LNP Government’s commitment to further developing Queensland’s business links with the United States,” Premier Newman said.  “The LNP Government is unashamedly about jobs and showing that Queensland is open for business on the world stage.”  Open for business is a phrase Governor Perry is also quite fond of.

Speaking of Texas business, Gov. Perry said, “Today, our economy continues to win raves from the business community, including Chief Executive Magazine’s “Top State for Business” for nine straight years. We’re also a major factor in international trade, leading the United States in exports for 12 years in a row, with more than $279 billion of goods flowing through our state in 2013. That’s an average of more than $1 billion of exports per business day, a total that’s larger than the entire GDP of countries like Chile, Nigeria, the Philippines and Portugal.”

The two states’ leaders exchanged comments about the common spirit of the people of their respective states. “Texas shares many similarities with Queensland’s four pillar economy of resources agriculture, tourism and construction industries – so the opportunities for increased trade are enormous,” Newman explained.

Perry responded by saying, “People of Texas…just like people in Queensland…just want a shot at living their dreams. They want quality, dependable jobs in their own hometowns, and when they find them, it helps build stronger families, stronger relationships and stronger communities.”

“That pioneer spirit is one big reason both our states look forward to the future as much as we celebrate the past. It’s also a big reason both are states where daring and creative people go to realize their full potential,” Perry continued. “For example, Texas is the birthplace of the integrated circuit, created by Texas Instruments in the 1950s. We played a key role in the Space Race, and in securing America’s presence in space in the years since. We are currently developing important new cancer treatments at places like MD Anderson Cancer Center right here in Houston, assembling the only U.S.-built smartphone in North Texas, and creating new, life-saving vaccines at Texas A&M.”  He then jokingly told Premier Newman he would tell him more about his alma mater later.

Perry also discussed attending a Texas rodeo with the Premier and then laughed and proclaimed Texas has everything from cow chips to microchips in Texas.

Newman observed, “Houston serves as an ideal gateway to the rest of the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico. I have tasked the North America office to work with industries and governments from across the U.S. to deliver even more for Queensland, securing our international ties and growing our economy.”

Perry concluded his remarks by stating, “Close partnerships with friends from around the world…like this one…helps both our states succeed. The opening of this office, and the signing of this Memorandum, will deepen our friendship.”

Newman strongly stated that his party’s government “is unashamedly about jobs and showing that Queensland is open for business on the world stage. We have taken the shackles off Trade and Investment Queensland by making it a statutory authority, where it was shackled by departmental red tape under Labor.”

“This new office is the beginning of a new era for the state’s business relationship with the US,” Newman concluded, “and will bolster our trade and investment ties with this important region. In the 2012-13 financial year merchandise trade between Queensland and the US was valued at $6.4 billion.”

The two states’ leaders then stepped forward and formally signed the Memorandum of Understanding that establishes the new “sister states” style relationship between the states of Queensland and Texas.

The Memorandum, in part, states, “The Governor of Texas and the Premier of Queensland recognize the importance of continuing to develop and expand ties of cooperation, with particular focus on research and development, agribusiness, resources, construction, tourism, education, and the arts.”

The Memorandum cites and agreement “to continue to collaboratively explore the potential for enhancing business networks, alliances and collaborative projects between our respective government agencies, industry organizations, educational and research institutes and knowledge intensive sectors with an aim to deliver benefits to the people of both great States.”

Following their remarks, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Andy Card spoke briefly and read letters from Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush.  Quoting from the President that Card referred to as “41”, George H.W. Bush, Card said, “This is an exciting and important partnership that will enhance the growth of business and economic relations between Australia and the United States of America.”

“Of course, I and my fellow Houstonians are especially pleased that Houston was chosen as the site for the Trade Office,” former President Bush said in his letter.

The event concluded with some remarks from Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who delivered a message from a former U.S. Congressman from Tennessee who became a Texas legend at the Alamo, Davy Crockett.  He presented Premier Newman with a coffee cup bearing an inscription of a Crockett quote that reads, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!”  Crockett made the quote after losing his re-election bid.  An always good natured Patterson joked, “Losing elections is something I am familiar with,” referring to his recent election results in the March 4th Primary where he finished out of the running for Lt. Governor.  Newman gratefully received the token from Patterson.

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX

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