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Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Visits Port

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HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited the Port of Houston Authority Thursday as she continued her nationwide listening tour, where she participated in a roundtable with Houston area business leaders sponsored by the Greater Houston Partnership. Port Authority Executive Director Len Waterworth, along with Port Commissioners Dean Corgey and Clyde Fitzgerald, participated in the discussion.

At the port, Secretary Pritzker announced new data that show U.S. manufactured exports supported 6.4 million jobs in 2011. Approximately 10 percent of those jobs were in Texas, which led the nation in the number of jobs – nearly 700,000 – supported by the export of manufactured goods.

During her visit to the port, Secretary Pritzker saw the Bayport Container Terminal, which opened in 2007. Almost 70 percent of the containers that move through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico come through the Port of Houston. The Port of Houston is the largest Gulf Coast port and the largest U.S. international trade port by tonnage, making it a primary port of export to Mexico, Brazil, China, India and Panama, among other countries. In 2012, the U.S. exported a record $2.2 trillion in goods and services exports, which supported nearly 10 million jobs.

Earlier this year, the Commerce Department released data that ranked Houston as the leading U.S. metropolitan area for merchandise exports in 2012 – $110 billion. Texas also achieved record exports during the first six months of 2013 ($134.4 billion) with merchandise exports increasing by 3 percent in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.

"As Secretary of Commerce, my goal is to serve as a bridge to the business community – both domestically and abroad – so that we can work together to strengthen the economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans," Pritzker said.

Waterworth welcomed the secretary to the Port Authority.

"The partnership between the Port Authority and Department of Commerce is crucial for continued success and keeping America strong," Waterworth said. "A good example is Foreign Trade Zone 84, which is number one in the nation for merchandise received in warehouse/distribution centers. The FTZ program in the Houston region is providing economic stimulus in the form of jobs, tax base and revenue."

Pritzker launched her listening tour in July in Colorado, with stops in Albany, N.Y., Hartford, Conn., Nashville, Tenn., Des Moines, Iowa, Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga. She is traveling across the country, engaging with businesses, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and Department of Commerce employees to hear about their priorities, concerns and ideas on how the public and private sectors can work together to strengthen the economy and create American jobs.

About the Port of Houston Authority

For nearly 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com

The Port of Houston Authority logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=719

CONTACT: Bill Hensel, Manager, Corporate Communications Office: (713) 670-2893 Cell: (832) 452-5776 E-mail: bhensel@poha.com

Source:Port of Houston Authority