Mayor Eric Johnson and other local leaders celebrated the opening of a new French trade office earlier this week at the Dallas International District, reported NBC 5.
A ribbon cutting was held on December 5, as attendees enjoyed French pastries and some sparkling Perrier.
Johnson said that the day was special for Dallas and marked an innovative step in forging international economic ties for the city.
“The idea is, we are going to be the epicenter in this part of the country for economic relations with the rest of the world,” Johnson said. “We believe this is going to benefit Dallas enormously, and people will copy this when they realize how smart it is for a city to show these foreign countries that this is the place you want to be.”
Jeanne Phillips, the U.S. ambassador from Dallas who also leads Johnson’s international advisory council, was one of many dignitaries attending the event.
“We wanted to have a place where all of the various countries who wanted to have a trade office could be together,” Phillips said.
The Dallas Independent School District is also attempting to bring a worldly flair to the emerging International District. Near the Dallas Galleria, DISD has purchased a building that is meant to house an international science, technology, and math high school.
In addition, there are hotels and apartment buildings in the area with an international community helping to promote the new district.
Johnson met with the French consul Valérie Baraban from Houston, who also attended Monday’s ribbon cutting.
“And here we are today. I’m delighted to say in a short time we have already gone a long way,” Baraban said.
Johnson said that there are six consulates in Dallas from other nations that he would like to see become a part of the International District. However, he said attracting new trade offices is more realistic in the short term.
“We’re talking to all of them off and on. We’ve honed in on the next three or four. So, we’re hoping that that will be happening very soon,” Phillips said.