New York City may have taken the No. 1 spot for $85.1 billion worth of business, but despite having just one-third the population size, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan statistical area ranked second on the Top 50 list, which is based on 2010 data culled from the International Trade Administration along with some editor-designated superlatives.
Houston boasted $80.6 billion exports by volume in 2010; mostly chemicals (30 percent), petroleum and coal products (29 percent) and machinery (16 percent), mostly headed to Mexico, Canada and China. Much of the thanks is due to the booming oil industry, but the article notes that “its consistent ranking as a top city not only for doing business, but also in which to work and live, must lend to its success.”
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington — “a logistic dream,” at the crossroads of rail lines and interstate highways — took spot No. 11 on the list, with $22.5 billion worth of trade in computer and electronic products, transportation equipment and machinery to, chiefly, Mexico, Canada and China.
Touted for its stone’s-throw proximity to Mexico, El Paso took spot No. 26 in the ranking. The West Texas town does $7.9 billion in business (of $10.3 billion total) with its southern neighbor, exporting computer and electronic products, electrical equipment and primary metal manufacturing.
Austin-Round Rock, though only ranked No. 31, won the superlative for “Most Likely to Succeed,” thanks to its “low-tax structure, key incentives and record for growth” — plus a technology sector that “competes with Silicon Valley’s.” The state capital did $8.9 billion in business chiefly with Taiwan, China and Mexico in 2011, exporting computer and electronic products, paper and transportation equipment.
San Antonio also made the list (at No. 37 overall for $6.4 billion in trade with Mexico, Canada and Brazil — and Boeing and Lockheed Martin in its port), as did Laredo (at No. 44 for $5.4 billion in business with Mexico, Canada and the Netherlands), home of the nation’s largest inland port.