Successful 2015 Texas-EU Business Summit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2015
Successful 2015 Texas-EU Business Summit
Texas Businesses Report Results
AUSTIN – The 4th annual Texas – European Union Business Summit was the most successful yet, summit organizers said Wednesday. Now in its fourth year, the summit has emerged as the most important annual event promoting business and investment between Texas and Europe.
“This was the first year the summit was a two day event and, with more than 120 attendees, we had more participants and more world-class speakers than ever before,” says Dr. Doug Biow, Director of the Center of European Studies and the EU Center of Excellence at UT-Austin.
Opening remarks were provided by Austin mayor Steve Adler, who called the summit a “Wonderful opportunity and wonderful event.” Adler highlighted the 40% growth in Texas-EU trade over the past five years as well as the $40 billion value of Texas-EU trade and $10 billion value of Austin-EU trade.
Adrian Farrell, Consul General of Ireland in Texas, delivered an update on the state of the transatlantic relationship, noting that “The transatlantic economic relationship is not only strong but continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.” Farrell’s remarks focused on the proposed US-EU trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). With the countries involved representing almost half of global GDP, Farrell called the TTIP “Potentially the most extensive trade deal in the world” and noted that Texas was poised to become major beneficiary.
The summit emphasized business opportunities offered by emerging markets in Southeast Europe. Panelists included Croatian Ambassador to the US, Joško Paro, and acting Belarusian Ambassador to the US, Pavel Shidlovsky as well as representatives of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. “The whole region is catching up with mainstream Europe,” said Ambassador Paro. In particular, he noted that Croatia, an emerging offshore natural gas producer, hopes to see more participation by Texas-based energy companies.
European nations that have longstanding economic relationships with Texas, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and United Kingdom, were represented on two panels covering EU market access and best practices.
Another panel addressed the increasingly critical issue of cyber-security. Comparing cyber-security with public health, presenters noted that preventing problems was easier than fixing them and that good cyber-security begins with properly trained people and proactive procedures.
Providing attendees with industry-specific information was the goal of another panel, with industry representatives focusing on US-EU trade in high-technology and services. The event concluded with the presentation of the US Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award. The recipient of this year’s award was Dr. Todd Ditmire of National Energetics. National Energetics employees will assemble a $40 million ultra-intense laser system in the Czech Republic. As an outgrowth of the summit’s success, the World Affairs Council of Austin has established a Texas Belarus Business Council. Key functions of this Council are to promote trade, education and cultural programs between individuals and companies in Texas and the Republic of Belarus.
“We are enormously excited by how the summit turned out and we’re already planning how to make the 2016 even bigger and better,” says Mortada Mohamed, President of the World Affairs Council of Austin, one of the event’s cosponsors.
The Texas-EU Business Summit is funded by the European Union Delegation to the United States through the EU Center of Excellence at the University of Texas and the World Affairs Councils of America. Cosponsors of the event include the City of Austin, U.S. Department of Commerce, Austin Community College, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Greater San Marcos Partnership, the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, Kozmetsky Center for Excellence in International Finance at St. Edwards University and various European-American chambers of commerce.
For more information, visit the summit website: TexasEUSummit.org