The City of San Antonio’s International Relations Department and their community partners have enriched the lives of the community through global relations and by establishing the city’s global presence through trade and foreign direct investment. The city’s location and diverse cultural mix make it a perfect gateway destination for businesses and tourists alike. To learn more about San Antonio’s diverse and rich culture, click here.
More than 25 years ago, a relationship model was forged by visionary city leaders who took the ground-breaking steps of mounting an intensive globalization campaign for San Antonio. This investment of time and resources resulted in tangible, long-term and lucrative relationships for the community. These relationships have evolved into concrete and sustainable associations with communities and countries around the world.
San Antonio’s Sister Cities bridge cultural gaps and ignite international economic development. San Antonio's first Sister City was Monterrey, Mexico, in 1953. Exchange sponsorships have been a community-wide effort in area schools, ethnic organizations, corporate and citizen groups. These exchanges include: arts, education, business development, sports, leadership, research, technology, etc. The City of San Antonio enjoys productive Sister City relationships with eight cities worldwide.
For more information about San Antonio’s global relations and sister cities, click here.
Texas stands out as a national leader in world trade. It has led the United States in international trade for more than six consecutive years – and without a doubt, San Antonio’s thriving economy and workforce have a lot to do with this economic success.
According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, in the first half of 2009, San Antonio exported $2.2 billion. In 2008, exports from the San Antonio metropolitan area totaled more than $5 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2007. Mexico and Canada are the leading export markets for San Antonio metropolitan-area firms, with exports totaling $989 million and $980 million, respectively.
San Antonio’s international trade success is in part due to its strategic geographic location. The city appeals to companies in Asia, Europe and South America that wish to establish a platform for their business in North America. A highly qualified, educated workforce and unmatched cultural mix also position San Antonio as a hot spot for international business.
Building upon its longstanding Sister City relationships with Guadalajara and Monterrey, Nuevo León, the City pioneered its first Casa San Antonio foreign trade office in Guadalajara in 1991. The Casa San Antonio program assists companies interested in exporting products and services to Mexico and facilitates imports and investment opportunities by developing international partnerships. Foreign trade offices include Casa San Antonio in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.
San Antonio has extensive relationships with Japan, due in large measure to the Texas - Japan office. Established in 1985 to attract Japanese trade and investment, this foreign trade office is credited with introducing San Antonio, Texas to Japan’s powerful industrial leaders through the Keidanren; forging a sister city relationship with Kumamoto City; and helping companies from Sony Microelectronics to Toyota Motor Manufacturing locate plants in San Antonio. The Japanese foreign trade office is in Tokyo, Japan.
Source: The City of San Antonio – International Affairs Department
Since 1999 and led by the Free Trade Alliance, San Antonio developed a business incubator, the International Business Development Center (IBDC), to facilitate business opportunities for foreign enterprises. The IBDC provides support to foreign companies seeking to establish or expand the market for their products in the U.S. The objective is to provide the necessary support during the development stage of the company, help reduce costs, and provide access to shared resources and useful services at little or no cost.
The IBDC program offers facilities, business training, market development assistance, and a series of value-added services designed to assist companies in developing the infrastructure to distribute their products in the U.S.
Source: Free Trade Alliance
Free Trade Alliance
The Free Trade Alliance was founded in 1994 in order to lead the development of San Antonio as a multi-modal and competitive international trade center. The alliance combines resources to help members help each other and help develop new international business avenues and trade opportunities for the entire San Antonio region. It also develops and advocates policies on trade-related issues that impact the regional economy.
Export Leaders Program
For the past 30 years, San Antonio’s Export Leaders Program has helped companies learn how to conduct business internationally by using foreign market entry strategies. These efforts enrich the city’s international relationships and global wealth creation.
World Affairs Council of San Antonio
The World Affairs Council of San Antonio was created in July 1982 to educate the public on issues related to foreign policy that have a direct impact on their lives. The council promotes public understanding of world affairs and the United States foreign policy and ensures that citizens and future leaders participate in a global community. Every year, the council holds lecture series, receptions, discussion groups, educational outreach programs, and provides language translators / interpreters to represent 17 languages.
The International Trade Center
The International Trade Center helps businesses with high-value trade consulting services, market research and training programs that promote their growth and stability in Texas. Through the years, the center has delivered technical know-how and support to hundreds of Texas companies entering new markets. In 2010 alone, the center helped generate over $181 million in international sales, and offered 5,704 consulting hours to 1,452 businesses. It is the only source of comprehensive trade consulting and market research in the State of Texas and its services are available at no cost.
San Antonio, Texas 78205