Houston’s Mayor Bill White and Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow Sign a Bilateral Partnership Agreement Opening International Trade Opportunities between Houston and Belize City

HOUSTON, TX – JULY 2, 2008 – Houston and Belize City, both recognized as international business and commerce regions entered into a Bilateral Partnership Agreement on Tuesday, July 1, 2008. The signing took place at Houston’s City Hall at 8:45 the morning of July 1, 2008. Signing the agreement on behalf of Belize’s major commercial hub city was His Excellency Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize. The agreement will foster a climate of international innovation and advancement; for both regions foresee a tremendous opportunity within the areas of Energy, Information Technology, Logistics, Life Sciences, Environment, Education, Tourism, Culture and the Arts.

“Houston’s Tri-County Black Chamber of Commerce’s International Initiatives Council initiated the agreement and will serve as liaison to help formalize a channel through which both regions can cooperate and share insights for success in meeting the challenges of global competition,” says Tri-County’s Chairwoman, Leondria Thompson. The "Think...Global Series" program initiatives will be conducted over the next two months to prepare entrepreneurs attending the Chamber's planned International Trade Forum in Belize City, October 22-26, 2008.

Tri-County Black Chamber of Commerce hosted Prime Minister Barrow’s visit to Houston. His Excellency was the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at TCBCC International Initiatives Council’s Luncheon on July 1, 2008, commencing TCBCC’s “Think…Global Series” Program. On hand to witness the occasion was Ms Audrey Wallace, CEO Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Santos Mahung, President of University of Belize and Dr. Geraldo Flowers, Vice President, University of Belize.

Chairwoman Thompson, a member of the Mayor’s International Affairs and Development Council/Americas, states “the significance of the bilateral partnership agreement and our Think…Global Series, is they both foster an international trade opportunity and opens a doorway for entrepreneurs facing the reality in today’s world, if your business is not international, you may be on your way out of business.” The “Think…Global Series” Luncheon was held at the University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton Hotel, 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, Texas 77004, at 11:30am following the signing ceremony at City Hall. The public was invited to attend.

Prime Minister Barrow was given the "Keys to the City of Houston" by Mayor Bill White and received Congressional Recognition from Congressman Al Green and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, Recognition from the State of Texas by Deputy Secretary of State, Coby Shorter, The Port of Houston Authority and the "Outstanding Statesman Award" from Tri-County Black Chamber of Commerce. Members of the Delegation were bestowed with Certificates as "Honorary Texans" by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis.

The VIP Reception welcoming the Prime Minister to Houston, hosted by the Port of Houston Authority aboard the M/V Sam Houston Tour Boat was attended by an impressive list of invited guests following the “Think…Global Series” Luncheon. Among the invited guests are Sponsors and Representatives of the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Mayor Frank Jackson City of Prairie View, Fred Haas Toyota World, Port of Houston, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency Dallas Regional Office, Texas Conference of Black Mayors, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, U.S. Department of Commerce Houston Export Service Center, Houston International Trade Development Council, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson, Deputy Secretary of State of Texas, Coby Shorter, and owners of micro businesses to major business firms.