Texas’s strength in business and international trade comes as no surprise, as this state has always upheld its commitment to low taxes and reasonable regulations, and is home to a world-class workforce. According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, exports from Texas totaled more than $249.8 billion in 2011, an increase of 20.7 percent over 2010.
In 2011, Texas was ranked as having the best business climate in the nation by Site Selection Magazine, DCI and Area Development Magazine. Not surprisingly, Texas is home to more Fortune 500 companies than virtually any other state in the nation.
Students in Texas’s business schools are more often choosing to major in international business, as the huge and very well-established trade capacity of the state, combined with it’s business friendly tax structure and support from state government and trade organizations, all contribute to making Texas the ideal environment for international business operations.
The key to Texas becoming such a center of international commerce has been its exceptional business climate:
- Texas has no corporate income tax and no individual income tax. It was ranked among the Top 10 Best States in the Tax Foundation’s 2012 State Business Tax Index.
- Texas has an advanced legal system designed to protect employers and reduce frivolous lawsuits. Texas ranks second in the U.S. Tort Liability Index of 2010.
- Texas boasts a workforce of more than 12 million people, creating an extensive pool of trained and educated workers from which to choose. The Texas Workforce Commission has several incentives in place designed to help employers support a number of employee-based programs, such as on-the-job training, literacy education, skills development and apprenticeship opportunities, just to name a few.
- Texas includes no fewer than 380 airports, giving this state the title of the second largest airport system in the nation. This state is also crisscrossed by nine major highway systems, the most in the country.
- Thanks to its 624 miles of coastline, Texas is home to more than 970 public and private wharves, piers and docks. According to the Texas Economic Development Division, more than 766 million tons of freight is expected to move through Texas waterways by 2030. Texas also has 12 deep water ports that run along the Gulf Coast, including the Port of Houston, which is the second busiest port in the United States by total cargo volume. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects the ports between St. Marks, Florida, and Brownsville, Texas, accounts for 58 percent of the waterborne traffic in Texas each year.
- Texas boasts two, master-planned logistic complexes, Alliance Global in Fort Worth and Port San Antonio in San Antonio. These complexes oversee industrial airports, class one rail terminals and direct access to interstate highways.
- Texas continues to remain a leader in energy production, which includes: oil and gas exploration and production; electric, coal and nuclear power generation; and renewable and sustainable energy generation. Some of the newest technologies being pursued include: solar, geothermal, wave/tidal, biomass and methane gas, and hydropower renewable energy.
Texas’s International Trade Partners
According to the Texas Economic Development Division, Texas’s largest export markets are its NAFTA trade partners, which accounted for 43 percent of all exports from the state in 2011. Texas’s top export destination continues to be Mexico, to which $86 billion in goods and materials were exported in 2011. Other leading trade partners include Canada, China, Brazil and the Netherlands.
According to the Texas Economic Development Division, Texas’s top exports in 2011 were petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computers and consumer electronics, machinery and transportation equipment.
Foreign direct investment continues to be a significant source of financial resources in Texas. The Texas Economic Development Division notes that foreign direct investment not only brings new jobs to the Lone Star state, but also propels the growth of innovative technologies, management strategies and new workforce practices. Investment in the state by foreign multinationals is responsible for the employment of 439,400 Texas workers, or almost 5 percent of Texas’s private sector workforce.
One of the top foreign investors in Texas is Toyota Manufacturing. In 2010, Toyota expanded its San Antonio production plant, which involved adding more than 1,000 jobs and investing $100 million.
International Business Jobs in Texas
Some of the world’s largest and most influential multinationals call Texas home. These corporations are also among the state’s top employers of international business managers, supply chain and logistics managers, import compliance specialists, global marketing specialists and market research analysts, and accountants versed in International Financial Reporting Standards:
- AT&T is recognized as the leading, worldwide telecommunications company, providing IP-based communication services to business. Headquartered in Dallas, AT&T boasts more than 256,000 employees worldwide.
- ConocoPhillips, an international, integrated energy company, is the third largest company of its kind in the United States and is the second-largest refiner in the country. ConocoPhillips in headquartered in Houston. It operates in more than 40 countries and has over 38,000 employees worldwide.
- Dell Computer, located in Round Rock, generated $52.9 billion in revenue in 2010, and has more than 100,000 team members around the world. In addition to its regional business unit in Round Rock, which serves the U.S., Canada and Latin America, Dell has regional headquarters in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, among others.
- Exxon Mobil is headquartered in Irving and has operations, facilities and offices around the world. It is the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company.
- Halliburton, which is headquartered in Houston, is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services for the energy industry. This company has nearly 70,000 employees in more than 80 countries around the world.
- Kimberly-Clark, which is headquartered in Dallas, is a leading global health and hygiene company that has more than 57,000 employees in 37 countries. Kimberly-Clark products are sold to more than 150 countries.
- Marathon Oil Company, which is headquartered in Houston, is an independent international energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil. This company has operations throughout the world, including Angola, Canada, Indonesia, Libya, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.
- Texas Instruments, which is headquartered in Dallas, is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. Texas Instruments has manufacturing and support offices located all over the world, including Europe and Asia. This company was named as one of Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” in 2011 for the eighth consecutive year.
Making International Business Contacts in Texas
Texas has a number of organizations in place to help promote foreign investment and assist local companies interested in international business opportunities: