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Chamber of Commerce Looks to Sell Austin Internationally

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Andrew Weber for KUT News

The Austin Chamber of Commerce is looking to sell Austin abroad.

Yesterday, the chamber and the State Department invited 26 ambassadors from around the world joined top tech companies like Google, Apple, Samsung and AT&T at the Driskill Hotel, in a tour aimed at bringing more international businesses to Austin.

Featuring emissaries from offices of Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, and junior U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the luncheon was part of a two-day tour of Austin including stops at the State Capitol UT, the Salt Lick and Capital Factory – the start-up incubator President Obama visited last Thursday.

Adriana Cruz, vice president of global recruitment for the chamber, worked with the State Department's Experience America program to pitch the Capital City as both a smart choice for international business – and as a free market alternative to other tech hubs like California.

“We are the youngest, smartest, safest, fastest growing metropolitan area in the country,” Cruz said. “There [are] multiple reasons for that … it’s a center of innovation and creativity, rivaling that of California, but you’re in the state with the best business climate, instead of a state that perhaps has a lot of regulations and taxes that are not as business-friendly.”

Irish Ambassador Michael Collins says that his country could learn from Austin’s tech sector.

“We’re a country that is deeply involved in the tech end of things,” Collins said. “And Ireland is the second biggest exporter of computer software in the world, so we know what Austin is doing and it’s good for us to come and see it directly.”

Collins says that Austin’s tech scene is similar to Ireland’s recent boom, which the IMF predicts could boost the country out of its European Union bailout sooner rather than later.

German Ambassador Peter Ammon said that Austin – and Texas as a whole – could be a fertile ground for businesses trying to escape shaky markets in the EU. Ammon cited President Obama’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership plan as a harbinger of more and more jobs coming to the states from across the pond.

“I see many more jobs coming,” Ammon said. “So I will speak to CEO’s who come to Washington to see me and ask me about my views, and I can tell you that I will be bullish about Texas.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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