H.E. Juan Sosa, Consul General of Panama in Houston, and Mrs. Margaret Sosa met with Mayor Parker to celebrate the strengthening business and cultural ties between Houston and Panama and Sosa’s official appointment as Consul General. Concurrently, Council Member Green was leading a trade delegation to Panama with the Houston International Trade Development Council February 25-March 2, 2015. The mission is focused on small to medium business enterprises. Just last November, Mayor Parker led a trade delegation to Panama, in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion.
Being one of the closest major shipping ports to the Panama, Houston stands to gain a great deal of jobs and trade opportunities when the Panama Canal expansion project finishes in 2015. The Port of Houston rank first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and is second in total cargo tonnage. It is the 10th largest port in the world. A 2012 economic impact study showed that more than 1.1 million jobs in Texas and nearly $179 billion of annual statewide economic activity were in some way related to cargo moving through the port. Certain sectors that especially benefit from this Panama Canal expansion are seaborne and air cargo trade. Overall trade value between Houston and Panama has increased at a compound annual growth rate of 20.4 percent from 2000 to 2013.
To learn more about this important relationship Houston has with Panama, please check out upcoming events showcasing the Houston-Panama connection. The U.S.-Panama Business Council, the Colombia Texas Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the University of Houston will organize the first hemispheric conference and expo titled “Houston: Gateway to the Americas December 2-4, 2015. The organizations held a briefing on the upcoming conference on February 19. Also, the VII Summit of the Americas will place April 10-11 in Panama City, Panama.