County and business leaders from Fort Bend County, recently welcomed delegates from the City of Foshan, Chancheng District, China, to the Gulf Coast region and Greater Houston area to sign a second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two communities.
The MOU signifies an alignment between Fort Bend and Chancheng District on mutual economic, cultural and environmental issues. The MOU with Chancheng District is one of several international outreaches the County is pursuing. Fort Bend representatives traveled to China in November 2011 to sign the first MOU between the two parties.
“Fort Bend leaders know the importance of strengthening international connections to further support economic development in our county,” said Jeff Wiley, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council (GFBEDC). “Chancheng District shares many of the characteristics of Fort Bend, including significant population growth, business growth, substantial infrastructure challenges sufficient to sustain quality growth and a keen focus on education, medical and cultural amenities.”
Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert established a Friendship Committee several years previously with the goal to strengthen relationships both within the community and internationally to foster business development. Considering China’s increasing economic strength, coupled with the significant participation of Chinese-American Friendship Committee members, the group chose to initially focus on areas of China with which to establish this business relationship.
“I am very pleased with our progress with the Chancheng District of Foshan, China. Jeff Wiley and his team from our Economic Development Council and our Chinese Friendship Committee did an outstanding job of showing our great county to the Chinese delegation,” said County Judge Hebert. “I believe that we are on track to execute the formal sister community agreement in Foshan later this year. That agreement will officially open the door to a wide-ranging, interactive dialogue between our two communities.”
The Friendship Committee was led by the County Judge Robert Hebert and includes Rocky Lai, Riverstone Development; John Lam, Leader International Group; Michael Liu, Fort Bend County resident; Danny Nguyen, Missouri City Council member; Howard Paul, Fort Bend County resident; Jason Sheng, Witmart; Allison Wen, Safari Texas; Jeff Wiley, GFBEDC; Beth Wolf, Fort Bend County Judge’s Office; and Daniel Wong, Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Inc. The Chinese delegation includes representatives from government and industry sectors.
“We expect to develop enhanced community relationships in the near future,” said Wiley. “We look forward to exploring mutually beneficial economic growth opportunities and working towards cultural, education, environmental, and medical cooperative efforts to bring our communities together.”
Concurrent with the establishment of the Friendship Committee, the GFBEDC has fostered another international outreach in Mexico. The GFBEDC and the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, a Pacific Ocean port located on the western coast of Mexico, began discussing a trade route between Lázaro Cárdenas and a West Fort Bend County intermodal location as an alternative inland port for warehousing, distribution and light manufacturing. Fort Bend County now offers a strategically located foreign trade zone on approximately 1,000 acres adjacent to the Kansas City Southern intermodal facility.