This is just the second time Mayor Parker has led a trade mission. The first time was in 2010, when she took a team to three cities in China. This week, the delegation is in Brazil. Speaking on a cellphone connection from Sao Paulo, Parker says Brazil is the third largest trade partner with Houston.
"And Houston is the largest U.S. trading partner for Brazil. There's a tremendous amount of business going back and forth and we want to make sure that we continue to be the center of focus for Brazilian business."
Parker spent time yesterday touring the public transit system in Sao Paulo and met with the mayor there today to sign a memorandum of understanding to promote business and tourism between the two cities. The delegation will travel to Rio de Janeiro next to meet with city and national officials there.
"One of the interesting things about this trip is that the Brazilian government has embarked on a plan to send 75,000 scholarship students to out-of-country universities. And so we are doing our best to capture a number of those for Houston."
Total annual trade between Houston and Brazil has increased to $15.5 billion in 2011, according to numbers provided by the City of Houston.