Governor Rick Scott and Enterprise Florida (EFI) today announced that the participating companies on the trade mission to Bogotá, Colombia reported actual and expected sales in excess of $40 million as a result of the trip. Governor Scott and EFI were a part of one of the largest TEAM Florida trade missions 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 last December.
Governor Scott said, "It is great news that mission sales are on track to exceed $40 million, and with the recent ratification of the Free Trade Agreements, I am confident Florida's economic relationship with Colombia will continue to grow and benefit Florida families. Florida has an ideal location to trade with Latin America and beyond. We are committed to growing jobs for Florida families, and missions to international markets help us build relationships across the globe to create new jobs and opportunities in the Sunshine State."
During the trade mission, twenty-eight companies participated in one-to-one business matchmaker meetings coordinated by Enterprise Florida and U.S. Commercial Service in Bogotá, where participants met with Colombian companies to expand business 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. Colombia is also among the top five world markets for Florida-made goods. 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.
"Because Florida is the gateway to business in Latin America, we're in a uniquely competitive position for accessing new opportunities in nations like Colombia," said Enterprise Florida President & CEO Gray Swoope. "Sustaining and strengthening Florida's global economic connections is vital to continuous diversification of the state's economy and achieving overall prosperity. Governor Scott understands the importance of international trade and development in our state and the direct link to jobs growth."
Manny Mencía, senior vice president of Enterprise Florida's International Trade Division said, "Florida's trade relationship with Latin America is critical to continued jobs creation in our state and Colombia is obviously a huge part of that relationship. These connections made between companies will be mutually beneficial for many years."
Bill Johnson, director of PortMiami said, "I have participated in a number of Enterprise Florida trade missions. These missions are critical in promoting two-way trade by fostering open communications between key players in important markets, such as Latin American nations."