WHITE AND ELLIS GLOBETROTTING!
Mayor Bill White, state Sen. Rodney Ellis and a delegation of more than 30 municipal officials and business people today kicked off the City of Houston Business Development Mission to Russia and The Netherlands, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Houston and City of Moscow.
“Russia is the world’s leading energy producer. There is a substantial amount of energy-related economic activity between businesses in the two countries, centered on Houston and Moscow,” said Mayor White. “Moscow is also a city, like Shanghai and Houston, that has undergone an extremely rapid transition over the past two decades. We are working hard to strengthen ties and open doors to business opportunities and other cooperation.” The day began with a breakfast meeting with The Hon. William Burns, U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Afterward, the delegation visited the Moscow Town Planning Office where they reviewed plans for redevelopment of the city and learned about the most notable new development, Moscow City. They also visited the construction site for Moscow City, which includes multiple skyscrapers and a new city government headquarters. Mayor White and the delegation then visited City Hall for a private meeting with long-time Moscow Mayor, The Hon. Yuri Luzkhov; Deputy Mayor Ludmilla Shvetsova; and more than a dozen municipal department heads and officials. Both Mayors and their respective delegations proceeded to the historic Red Hall to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Houston and City of Moscow. The agreement calls for increased cooperation on government, business and cultural issues. Following the signing ceremony, the Mayor and official delegation attended a luncheon hosted by Mayor Luzkhov. Discussions centered around shared problems, best practices and future collaborations, including direct commercial air service between Houston and Moscow. The business delegation attended a luncheon and briefing at the headquarters of KBR Eurasia.
The full delegation reconvened at the Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce for a roundtable discussion with the Russian Oil and Gas Producers Union. Conversations focused on global energy issues and the roles each city could play in the energy industry in their own interest and their national interests in light of international energy security issues. The discussion also included the roles of the cities, chambers of commerce and oil industry.
Finally, the delegates attended a business networking reception hosted by Ernst & Young. More than 125 Russian and American companies attended the reception, as did Ambassador Burns.