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Chinese companies invest big in Texas and Houston

News Article Sponsored by Flex-Chem


Chinese companies have invested $7.4 billion in Texas over the last 15 years, much of it in Houston, according to the consulting firm Rhodium Group.

The new data is reminder of the importance of global trade to Houston’s economy.

 Predictably, most of the Chinese investments in Texas were in the oil and gas industry, according to a breakdown by congressional district. Four of the top 15 districts for Chinese investment are in Texas.
The big Houston-area investors include Nexen, a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Friede Goldman, which focuses on drilling rig designs, INOVA, a geophysical engineering joint venture and Sinopec’s offices and real estate investments.
News about trade with China usually centers on U.S. investments in China, not the other way around. The truth is Chinese oil and gas firms need to hire American workers for skills not available at home.
Debates about trade with China usually start and end with lost American jobs, but a complete picture is more complicated. For instance, a Chinese company rebooted the Mooney Aircraft company in Kerrville and will export private aircraft to China. The largest Chinese greenfield investment in Texas is a new aluminum tubing plant in Gregory that employs American workers.

One aluminum plant doesn’t make up for dumping surplus steel into the U.S. market, but Rhodium’s report concludes that additional Chinese investments – and new American jobs – are possible in other industries if trade strengthens.

“While Chinese FDI (foreign direct investment) is well represented in the state’s storied energy sector, major areas of the Texan economy are largely untapped by Chinese investors,” the report says. “With few exceptions, there has been little investment in technology or aerospace, both of which are major attractions for foreign companies.”

Many of the current crop of presidential candidates like to rail against foreign trade deals that makes these kinds of cross-border investments possible. But putting up more barriers to investment will only hurt international cities like Houston that benefit from them.

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