The international global community and the Florida Chamber believes Florida faces a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fundamentally transform our economy by becoming a global hub for trade, logistics and export-oriented manufacturing activities. On the eve of Florida’s 500th anniversary in 2013 commemorating our state’s rich heritage and diverse cultural history, and in celebration of Florida World Trade Month, it’s important to reflect on our state’s important historical role in trade, as well as how international business is revolutionizing Florida’s future economy.
Florida has long been an important consumer market and gateway for trade between the United States, Latin America and Caribbean nations. Over the next decade, Florida should be positioned for a larger leadership role as a trade hub.
Consider the facts:
- Florida is located in the fastest growing U.S. business and consumer market – the arc of southern states from Texas to Virginia.
- Florida is also located at the crossroads of growth in north-south and east-west trade lanes with access to more than 1.1 billion consumers in the Western Hemisphere by 2035.
- The widening of the Panama Canal, combined with growth in Latin America and Caribbean markets, will realign global trade lanes and increase flows through this region in the coming decades.
To secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber has called for the doubling of Florida-origin exports over a five-year period – from 2010-2015. Last year, Florida-origin exports reached $64.8 billion – a 17 percent increase over 2010. While there are challenges that require the business communities action, we are on our way to fulfilling this important goal.
If Florida were a country, we would have the 20th largest economy on the planet. More than 55,000 Florida companies export and, incredibly, that equates to 20 percent of all U.S. exporters. This is the second largest number of exporters in the United States.
The number of Florida exporters has grown 76 percent since 2003. More than 95 percent of Florida exporters are small- and medium-size businesses with 500 or fewer employees. These small- and medium-size companies accounted for 67 percent of Florida’s exports in 2009 – the highest figure of any state in the United States.
Last year, international business, trade and foreign direct investment in Florida sustained nearly one in six jobs in Florida and accounted for one-sixth of the state’s economic output. Approximately 1.3 million jobs in Florida depend on international business.
Growing international commerce is a rallying cry for the Florida Chamber’s International Business Committee. To help us grow Florida and your business, join our International Business Committee by contacting Frank Ryll, Director of Global Outreach at 850-521-1205 or