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Published on Thursday, September 06, 2018

San Antonio highlighted in Brookings International Trade Study

CONTACT: Trevor Whitney, Economic Development Department, 210-207-7049,
Jamie Bloodsworth, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, 210-226-1395,
Max Bouchet, Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, 202-797-6271,


SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 6, 2018) – The City of San Antonio is featured in a new report detailing best practices for strategic international business development, the culmination of a six-year partnership with the Brookings Institution. ‘Six steps for metro areas to prioritize global markets’ is a new guide for regional leaders to better assess international markets and to identify trade and investment opportunities. This report applies the concept of evidence-based market prioritization, an approach that identifies international economic opportunities that complement a local economy’s competitive advantages. This innovative approach will inform San Antonio’s international business strategy for years to come.


San Antonio has been at the crossroads of international trade for centuries. As the United States’ interaction with the global market continues to evolve, local government and business leaders recognize the potential for increased exports to strengthen San Antonio’s economy. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that San Antonio exports $5.6B annually, an increase of 82% in the past decade.


“San Antonio is a globally competitive city,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Working with Brookings will strengthen our commitment to developing international trade strategies that benefit the citizens of San Antonio and maintain our strong economic momentum.”


After a multi-year partnership with Brookings to develop a trade and investment strategy, San Antonio was selected again in 2017 to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint venture between Brookings and JPMorgan Chase that evaluated the impact of global trade strategies to determine how to better develop mutually beneficial economic partnerships with other international metro areas. Now, in 2018, ‘Six steps for metro areas to prioritize global markets’ presents an objective, data-driven process to evaluate local core strengths and build strategic partnerships with international cities.


“San Antonio is a pioneer in creating a consistent, evidence-based approach to determine where in the global marketplace its resources are best spent to access investment, trade, talent, and ideas,” said Max Bouchet, research analyst at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. “Through this pilot, San Antonio found new ways to apply data and business intelligence that identify the strongest prospects for economic opportunities, starting with its globally-competitive cybersecurity cluster. Instead of chasing country fads or headlines, San Antonio has figured out how to prioritize markets that truly align with its sectoral strengths, connections, accessibility and objectives.”


The guide outlines six steps to evaluate where to best focus international efforts to maximize returns, including how to: (1) organize for action; (2) select a priority specialization; (3) determine the goal; (4) measure market opportunities; (5) factor in market accessibility; and (6) combine and synthesize data.


The application of this framework involves looking at various datasets and collaborating with industry to determine which international cities offer economic opportunities for San Antonio. ‘Six Steps’ is based on a year-long comprehensive research collaboration with San Antonio, Atlanta, Columbus, Louisville-Lexington, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and Wichita.


“Our relationship with the Brookings Institution helped build this framework that is based on data and industry feedback.  This will help us integrate our international efforts with our economic development strategy to create more high-wage jobs and investment while expanding our global footprint in target industries,” said Sheryl Sculley, San Antonio City Manager.


The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) will lead the development and implementation of San Antonio’s international trade strategy supported by the Brookings data. SAEDF’s International Advisory Council, Co-Chaired by Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and Raul Rodriguez-Barocio, Associate Vice President of Vianovo U.S, was established in 2018 to align and coordinate FDI and trade development strategies for the San Antonio region resulting in the creation and growth of jobs supported by FDI and exports, capital investment and export growth.


“We are being intentional and taking the next step in our strategy development to expand foreign direct investment, international exports, and exchanges of innovation and talent,” said San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Co-Chair of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation’s International Advisory Council. “Additional collaboration with international partners will raise global awareness of San Antonio’s many economic assets.”


The council represents a cross-section of public, private sector and local chamber of commerce leaders with expertise in international business and trade development.


“San Antonio stands to become a global leader in our industries of focus including IT, cybersecurity, bioscience and manufacturing,” said Raul Rodriguez-Barocio, Co-Chair of the SAEDF International Advisory Council. “SAEDF’s International Advisory Council is committed to a data driven international strategy, informed heavily by industry, to continue driving San Antonio to the forefront of globally competitive cities.”


Since its launch in 2012, the GCI has raised awareness about the importance of international economic connections and competitiveness for growth and job creation. This has spurred dozens of metropolitan areas to reorient their economic strategies toward engaging world markets. GCI has become a hub for coalitions of leaders from both the public and private sectors to connect with their counterparts through knowledge-sharing and problem-solving.


To learn more about the GCI, visit or


To view ‘Six steps for metro areas to prioritize global markets’, visit

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Categories: Economic Development