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Abbott inks agreement to bring foreign investment to Texas, border communities

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Greg Abbott has signed another agreement with a European leader to bring foreign investment to Texas. Last week, he signed a statement of intent with French Minister for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad Olivier Becht in Paris.

“By signing this statement of intent, it will encourage foreign business investment, promote economic development projects, and increase trade opportunities between Texas and France,” Abbott said after signing it. “Forging strong economic bonds with reliable partners is more important now than ever. Texas is proud to have that strong partnership with France.”

The statement of intent was signed to “facilitate the expansion of businesses” and encourage job creation. It mentions “encouraging investment, trade, and business expansion” in key industry sectors, including energy, biotechnology, petrochemicals, and energy transition.

The agreement states the parties commit to “exploring potential areas of cooperation that enhance prospects for economic development and job growth in Texas and France.” It also states they commit to “supporting the development and discovery of new and emerging technologies.” The agreement is not legally binding and doesn’t constitute financial commitment by the participants.

The statement of intent is similar to others he signed with world leaders last year, designed to expand foreign investment in Texas, including in the energy sector.

In December, Gov. Abbott signed an agreement with Finnish officials to “facilitate the expansion of business, encourage the creation of jobs energy security, reliability and innovation” in several areas, including energy expansion. This included “smart grids and transportation solutions such as marine and electric vehicles; and energy efficient materials, including processes in the built environment or building technologies.”

He also signed an agreement with Dutch officials, meeting with Netherlands Queen Maxima as she also advanced a “Smart City” innovation exchange with Austin officials.

These agreements were reached after other major foreign investors announced multiple billion-dollar investments in Texas. Last year, a Canadian green hydrogen company announced it was building a $4 billion facility in north Texas. A Chilean global eFuels company also announced last year its plan to invest $6 billion to build the first industrial-scale eFuels facility in North America in Bay City in Matagorda County.

In 2021, Samsung announced the most significant foreign investment of $17 billion when it announced it was building a new semiconductor and microchip facility in Taylor, Texas. It was the largest foreign direct investment in Texas on record, bringing the company’s total Texas investment to more than $47 billion since it began operations in the U.S. in 1978.

While in France, Gov. Abbott attended a state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also met with French and Indian business and government leaders who expressed interest in expanding business relations with Texas.

The governor joined First Lady Cecilia Abbott, who led a five-day economic development mission to Germany, the United Kingdom, and France with a Texas economic development delegation. Among those joining state officials in the delegation were leaders of two Texas border communities: the Borderplex Alliance in El Paso and the Council for South Texas Economic Progress in the Rio Grande Valley.

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