Tallahassee, FL - On December 2, Governor Scott will lead a trade mission to Bogotá, Colombia with more than 190 participants representing 116 Florida companies, statewide organizations and higher educational institutions to promote economic development opportunities in the Sunshine State. Colombia is Florida’s second largest trading partner, with more than $9 billion in bilateral trade. Florida also accounts for one-fourth of the total U.S. trade with Colombia, and 37 percent of U.S. exports to Colombia move through Florida.
Enterprise Florida (EFI) has organized this trade mission and six other international business development missions Governor Scott has led since taking office. Previously, Governor Scott has led missions to Panama, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The goal of these international missions is twofold. First, they introduce Florida’s businesses, elected officials and community leaders firsthand to global business opportunities through introductions to prospective clients and markets that provide exporting potential for their local companies. Second, the missions aim to attract job-creating foreign direct investment into the state. These have been core activities for EFI since the late 1990s, soon after the public-private partnership was created to serve as the state’s lead economic development organization.
EFI, along with Governor Scott, promotes Florida as a global business destination through its Florida Export Sales Missions. These “matchmaking missions,” organized with support from the U.S. Commercial Service, allow Florida businesses to meet one-to-one with foreign companies to discuss economic development and business opportunities. The nations targeted tend to be those that are major trade partners with Florida. Enterprise Florida facilitates affordable travel packages to enable businesses to meet prospective international clients. In addition, Governor Scott has led business development missions with EFI to promote economic development activities in targeted industries that are important to Florida’s economy.
Governor Scott said, “Florida is perfectly positioned to be a global hub for business. We are committed to growing our relationship across the world in order to create jobs for Florida’s families, and that is why the missions we embark on with EFI are vital to Florida’s economic success. These missions help us attract new industries and businesses to Florida and further cement our standing as one of the nation’s top trading states. I look forward to visiting Colombia and with the recent ratification of the Free Trade Agreements, I am convinced that Florida and Colombia’s growing relationship will expand even more.”
Manny Mencía, senior vice president of Enterprise Florida’s International Trade Division, said, “A major goal of these missions is to help increase our state’s exports, which leads to more jobs, by paving the way to greater sales opportunities for Florida companies. Companies that export, grow faster and are more profitable than companies that do not – and it is clear that we must make this a top priority in Florida.”
Florida Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida President & CEO Gray Swoope notes that “international trade and foreign investment combined are responsible for more than 1.4 million Florida jobs, or about 17.3 percent of the state’s employment. Florida benefits greatly from a Governor who understands global trade’s effect on job creation and economic prosperity. When Governor Scott leads these missions, they not only generate a higher level of participation and results, but also attract a higher level of attention and enhance Florida’s business image in the host country. We applaud him for being a champion of our efforts to expand Florida’s international trade and business development.”