TxEDC Board Vice Chair Arun Agarwal Highlights Texas’ Global Importance
Dallas business executive Arun Agarwal firmly believes in this Texas-worthy adage: “It ain’t bragging if it’s the truth.”
About a year after being appointed by Governor Greg Abbott as vice chair of the Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC), Agarwal put that adage into practice during a recent Texas trade mission to Europe. In conversations with officials in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Agarwal merely told the truth about our state’s booming economy. No bragging necessary.
First Lady Cecilia Abbott and Secretary of State Jane Nelson led the July 8-15 trade mission, organized by TxEDC and the Texas Economic Development & Tourism Office. Agarwal, CEO of Dallas-based home textiles company Nextt, was among the members of the Texas delegation.
Agarwal, who holds business interests in textiles, cotton trading and real estate, looks forward to the European trip paying big dividends for Texas.
“There is a reason Texas has consistently been the No. 1 state to do business,” Agarwal says. “We are home to 55 Fortune 500 companies and have the eighth largest economy (based on preliminary estimates) compared with nations around the world. We are proud of the strong industries we have in Texas that help boost our economy, such as the energy sector, manufacturing and semiconductors, just to name a few.”
“We also know that there is big opportunity for other companies around the world to prosper in Texas, which is why we think we will see results from our visit to Europe,” Agarwal adds.
Those results would add to our state’s already robust international trade. Texas remained the top exporting state in 2022, with the value of exports climbing to $485.6 billion.
Agarwal is certainly no stranger to the international trade arena. For one thing, his company, Nextt, does business around the world. Plus, he is chairman of the Indian American CEO Council, and earned a master’s degree in business administration from India’s IMT Ghaziabad business school and an advanced certificate in international business from Harvard University.
Back in 2018, Agarwal accompanied Governor Abbott on a trade mission to Agarwal’s native India. That mission appears to have borne fruit. Texas was last year’s number two U.S. destination for direct investment projects from India. Also in 2022, India ranked as Texas’ 11th largest trading partner.
Given the weight that Texas carries in the global economy, Agarwal believes it’s vital to travel to India, Europe and other places to tell government officials and business executives “what Texas has to offer, share success stories and show how business-friendly our state is.”
International trade missions also enable Texas officials and executives to tout the state’s broad-based economy. Agarwal cites a number of sectors that flourish in Texas, including semiconductors, medical technology, information technology, defense, agriculture, automotive and — of course — energy.
“Texas loves its heritage of oil and gas,” he says, “but the Texas economy is very diverse.”
That’s a truth worth bragging about.