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Tuesday AM January 13th, 2009

Dozens of transportation and trade experts are attending a conference here in Houston. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Representatives from the Houston Airport System and air carriers, the Port of Houston and shippers, railroads, truck lines and politician — all are discussing the globalization and demographics that are making the Texas Gulf Coast the gateway to North America.  The First Annual Harris County International Trade and Transportation Conference was organized by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

“All of us have a role in what’s going to drive the Houston area forward, and we all recognize that it’s going to be international trade and it’s going to be transportation.  This are will become more and more the gateway to North America.  The truth of the matter is right now about a third of the imports into Mexico come through the Houston, and the economic partnership has got to be recognized, and that’s what’s going on.”

Judge Emmett says this region has become a hub for international commerce, but plans have to be made for the future.

“It’s fine to talk about Mexico or even China right now, in the trade.  But what we’re trying to get people to think about is ‘okay, where are we going to be 20 years from now?’  Twenty years earlier nobody would have seen China as being quite as dominant a trade partner as it is now.  So now there’s a lot of conversation about India.  There was just a great conversation about Brazil, that the fact that Brazil is going to be just a huge trading partner with the U.S. going forward.”   

The conference was originally planned for September, but was postponed in response to Hurricane Ike. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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