About 200 British-owned companies operate U.S. or North American headquarters and other facilities in Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding cities. Among them are Barclays, BT Global Services and Smith & Nephew.

About 120 French companies operate in North Texas as well, including Airbus Helicopters, Nestlé Waters and Schneider Electric.

With facts like those in mind, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced Thursday that they will lead a trade mission June 17 to 22 to London, Paris and Brussels to promote economic development, business opportunities and tourism throughout the DFW region.

The mission’s delegates will meet with government officials, business executives and local leaders to tout the benefits of operating in DFW and the growing economic and commercial ties among the United Kingdom, Europe and Texas cities.

North Texas is an international business and tourism hub, as well as a top U.S. metropolitan area for business expansions, relocations and growth.

The U.K. and France combined are the largest foreign investors in Texas, with $6.7 billion in capital expenditures from 2011 to 2016, according to the latest figures from the governor’s office.

The DFW region offers a booming, entrepreneurial economy that fosters business growth and expansion, Rawlings said. North Texas is the ideal location to grow and develop international businesses.

“As a hub of innovation and diversity, we look to strengthen the already deep connections North Texas has with our global partners,” Rawlings said.

Price said the trips are important for building DFW’s business markets and fostering professional relationships.

“With a positive, pro-business climate, talented workforce, strong economy, and a great location, the DFW region is a great place to do business or visit,” Price said in a prepared statement.

In the last 18 months alone, seven U.K.-based firms and three French-based companies have established new U.S. or North American headquarters or manufacturing, office and other facilities in the DFW region. Those companies include BAE Systems, Smith & Nephew and Zinwave from the U.K., as well as and Airbus Helicopters, L’Oreal and Louis Vuitton from France.

In 2017, the U.K. was DFW’s 11th-largest export market, at $706 million, and its 8th largest import market, at $1.5 billion. France is the region’s 15th-largest export market, at $446.6 million, and its 10th-largest import market, at $1.23 billion.

The mission also will emphasize the role that international flights through Dallas Fort Worth International Airport play in bridging North Texas and the U.K. and France. The United Kingdom is DFW’s No. 1 source for overseas visitors. Also, bilateral trade with London and Paris flows through direct flights from DFW Airport.

“Business continues to grow in Texas, with more headquarters citing DFW Airport as one of the top reasons for relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport and a member of the delegation. “We’re anticipating a record 73 million customers over the next 12 months, and we continue to work with our airline partners to provide more opportunities to enable commerce and connect people and cargo.”

Other delegates include regional business leaders and others from DFW International Airport, the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, VisitDallas and Visit Fort Worth.

Besides showcasing regional business investments and tourism, Price and Rawlings will swap ideas with their counterparts about the results of innovative, urban mobility ideas that are working in the U.K., France and the DFW region.

Also on the agenda, members of the delegation and a handful of U.K. executives will take part in the International Business Roundtable to network about expanded economic opportunities between the two countries. A dozen students from Southern Methodist University will be at the event as part of a business and entrepreneurial study abroad program.

In London, other meetings are planned with:

Lord Mayor Charles Bowman, the leader of the City of London Corporation, which is the municipal governing body of the City of London Rajesh Agarwal, the deputy mayor of London for business, who chairs the promotional company for London Executives with British AirwaysExecutives with U.K.-based Digital Shadows, a cybersecurity company that recently opened a new office in DallasThe ministry of state for Europe and the AmericasExecutives with Crossrail, which is developing a high-speed train running under central London

The mission also will promote tourism between Dallas-Fort Worth and the U.K.

British travel media and tour operators will experience the sounds, sites and tastes of the region at a reception featuring Dallas-based band Castro, the Dallas Moving Cities art installation and a virtual reality experience. Representing Fort Worth, chef Tim Love designed the menu, and distiller Leonard Firestone will be on hand to discuss his TX Whiskey and Whiskey Ranch.

In Paris, meetings are planned with:

Executives with Air France The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which seeks to encourage economic progress and world tradeExecutives with Louis Vuitton, which announced plans last fall to establish a new workshop in the DFW region

The final leg of the mission will include meetings at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. The delegation, including the mayors, will tour NATO headquarters and meet with the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison of Dallas. A former U.S. senator from Texas, she has extensive international experience, focusing on the importance of transatlantic relationships.

Rawlings and Price have led similar missions in the past, including one last June to Toronto and Montreal that the Dallas Business Journal attended and covered.

The upcoming Europe trip will be the 15th airport-sponsored international trade mission in the past six years. In addition to Canada, past destinations have included Australia, the Netherlands, Peru and Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, England and Germany, South Africa, Japan, Mexico City and China.

North Texas Foreign-Owned Businesses

Ranked by Number of full-time employees in DFW

Rank Business name Number of full-time employees in DFW 1 Alcon Laboratories Inc. 5,714 2 Ericsson Inc. 4,500 3 Toyota USA 4,000 View This List

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