Mayor Annise Parker meets with Sao Paulo's mayor in Brazil

March 27, 2012 4:56:22 PM PDT
In Sao Paulo, high rises are as far as the eye can see and it becomes obvious why Houston is so eager to do business with Brazil.

The meeting between Mayor Annise Parker and Sao Paulo Mayor Gilberto Kassab included exchanging gifts. It was part of a choreographed dance between the two leaders in an effort to bolster both cities' economic future.

Parker praised Sao Paulo's mass transit.

"Particularly great cities like ours must function at a very, very high level," Parker said.

"The two cities have quite a few similarities," Kassab said.

Kassab noted both cities are major hubs for commerce -- call it intercontinental politics 101, initial pleasantries that could yield big results for Houston businesses.

"Having the introduction through a trade mission certainly gets you the level of credibility that companies don't get by just coming down and knocking on doors and making appointments to see folks," said Chris Helms with U.S. Shale Energy Advisors.

That is why the Greater Houston Partnership organizes and funds these trade missions, so at occasions that look like just another reception, relationships can be formed and Brazilian companies will seriously consider bringing money and jobs to Houston.

"We have a couple of projects in Houston that we want to try to develop in Houston," Colleman Group business developer Paulo Biggers said.

Delegation members say they hope this trip only lays the groundwork for what will be a long-lasting relationship between the two cities so that more jobs and trades could occur.

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