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Texas: Still Strong and Growing

(American Turkic Business Journal)

March 2016

We’re living in tumultuous times for the world economy, and no one could be blamed for feeling more than a little anxious at the outlook.

As Texas’ chief financial officer, I have to keep my eyes fixed on the road ahead, watching trends and events that could affect the world’s 12th-largest economy, and the state revenue it generates.

And I’m pleased to report that Texas’ outlook is still positive, despite the worldwide slump in energy prices.

The recent energy boom has definitely ended, for the time being, and there’s no question that our growth will be more moderate than it was during the shale rush. But the fact is, Texas’ economy has diversified greatly in the last few decades, and energy currently accounts for only about a tenth of the whole.

We expect employment growth to drop into lower gear, at less than 2 percent annually for fiscal 2016 and 2017, but unemployment should remain steady, at about half of what it was during the Great Recession. Our unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 108 consecutive months.

In the next two years, we expect the growth in Texas’ real gross state product (GSP) and personal income to track U.S. growth rates pretty closely. Our GSP grew by 2.4 percent in 2015 and should do about the same in 2016 and 2017. Texas personal income rose about 4.8 percent in 2015. We estimate a similar growth rate in fiscal 2016 and nearly 6 percent growth in fiscal 2017.

The Texas Advantage

Texas has an international reputation for its pro-business attitude. We’re perennially listed among the best American states for business, and were recently selected as the nation’s top state for friendliness toward small businesses in particular.

One reason is our tax structure. In the 2016 edition of the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Texas ranked 10th-best overall and second-best among the 10 largest states.

Texas doesn’t have a personal income tax, and sole proprietorships, the state’s most common form of new business, are completely exempt from the state’s franchise tax, its main business tax. In 2015, all businesses with total revenues of less than $1.08 million or total tax liabilities of less than $1,000 owed no franchise tax, and the Texas Legislature recently approved a 25 percent rate reduction for the tax.

Despite Texas’ rapid growth, our state has remained a remarkably livable place. In 2015, MoneyRates.com ranked Texas as the nation’s best place to make a living, based on measures including average salaries, employment rates and workplace conditions.

Our consistently low cost of living is attracting new Texans from all over America.

And we’ve largely avoided the housing shortages and sky-high prices that plague many American cities. A recent study in Forbes listed Austin, Houston and Dallas among the top 10 metropolitan areas for recent new housing construction permits, both single- and multifamily.

And we’re open to the world. Texas is a strongly bicultural state, and Houston is America’s most ethnically diverse city, home to people from all over the world, and a place where about 90 languages are regularly spoken.

Texas in the World Economy

Our business advantages, our key logistical position for reaching North American markets and our dominance in the energy industry have helped Texas forge strong links with the world economy. Texas is America’s biggest exporter by far and its third-biggest destination for foreign direct investment projects. More than 1,400 foreign companies operate here. Texas also has 32 foreign trade zones, more than any other state.

Our links with Turkey are expanding, due not least to the diligent work of the American Turkic Business Council, which has worked to increase the visibility of Turkish business in our state through its publications, workshops and business development events. The council’s work has paid off handsomely; according to the commercial attaché for the Turkish Consulate General in Houston, Texas has become the number-one U.S. state for Turkish imports.

Uniworld Business Publications reports at least seven Turkish companies with 20 subsidiaries in Texas, and 22 Texas companies with 29 subsidiaries in Turkey. Turkish companies operating here include the steel pipe manufacturing giant Borusan Mannesmann, which operates its first U.S. manufacturing plant at a $148 million facility in Baytown, Texas.

Texas remains strong and prosperous, and dedicated to claiming an ever-increasing share or world commerce. We’re open for business, and eager to work with foreign partners.

Turkish Companies with Subsidiaries in Texas
Texas Company Texas City Primary Industry Area Foreign Parent Company
Atlas Texas Construction and Trading Inc. Houston Construction Atlas Group
Borusan Mannesmann Management, LLC Houston Wholesale Trade Borusan Holding AS
Borusan Mannesmann Pipe U.S., Inc. The Woodlands Wholesale Trade Borusan Holding AS
Borusan Mannesmann Pipe U.S., Inc. Baytown Manufacturing Borusan Holding AS
Isbir Bulk Bag USA LLC Rockwall Manufacturing Isbir Sentetik Dokuma Sanayi A S
MedTrade Inc. Houston Wholesale Trade Colakoglu Metalurji AS
MITAS Tower Company, Inc. Houston Wholesale Trade MITAS Energy and Metal Construction Inc.
MITAS USA Inc. Bellaire Wholesale Trade MITAS Energy and Metal Construction Inc.
New Falcon Steel LLC Fort Worth Manufacturing MITAS Enerji Ve Madeni Insaat Isleri Turk A S
Ozkan Inc. Houston Wholesale Trade Ozkan Demir Celik Sanayi A S
Ozkan Steel USA LLC Houston Wholesale Trade Ozkan Demir Celik Sanayi A S
SA-RA America San Antonio Wholesale Trade SA-RA Group
Sarar USA, Inc. Allen Retail Trade SARAR Group
Winport Group LLC Houston Retail Trade Istikbal Mobilya San. ve Tic.

Source: Texas Governor’s Office

Texas Exports to Turkey: Annual 2014
Mineral Fuel, Oil Etc.; Bitumen Subst; Mineral Wax 638,987,830
Cotton, Including Yarn and Woven Fabric Thereof 337,819,661
Organic Chemicals 319,281,804
Plastics and Articles Thereof 182,188,414
Industrial Machinery, Including Computers 170,883,515
Aircraft, Spacecraft and Parts Thereof 130,020,455
Iron and Steel 106,695,027
Animal or Vegetable Fats, Oils Etc. 56,384,816
Pharmaceutical Products 40,482,635
Electric Machinery Etc; Sound Equip; TV Equip; Parts 40,457,374
Texas Imports from Turkey: Annual 2014
Iron and Steel 357,269,002
Articles of Iron or Steel 194,993,948
Mineral Fuel, Oil Etc.; Bitumen Subst. 57,855,560
Art of Stone, Plaster, Cement, Asbestos 52,198,111
Aircraft, Spacecraft and Parts Thereof 48,842,662
Copper and Articles Thereof 43,241,778
Vehicles, Except Railway or Tramway, and Parts 31,965,870
Cereals 29,348,161
Carpets and Other Textile Floor Coverings 15,534,853
Industrial Machinery, Including Computers 14,355,101

Source: Wisertrade