Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Crist Touts Florida’s $64B In Trade With Caribbean, Latin America

Gov. Charlie Crist discussed Florida’s collaborative efforts on international trade, alternative energy and environmental preservation with officials from Latin America and the Caribbean on Oct. 3.

Crist, who spoke at the business and political forum Miami Herald Americas Conference, called the Sunshine State the “Gateway of the Americas,” and said that his administration is committed to expanding commerce with neighboring countries, according to a prepared statement.

Florida trade with the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean is more than $64 billion annually, representing 56 percent of Florida’s total world trade, according to a news release. Latin American and Caribbean countries have invested more than $3.4 billion in Florida, and they employ more than 21,000 Floridians.

In addition, trade agreements between the United States and Chile and the Dominican Republic have increased Florida trade more than $2.8 billion. Meanwhile, the state has pending agreements with Peru, Panama and Colombia that could bring Florida more market access, lower prices and new jobs.

Crist led Florida business representatives on three trade missions, including one in November 2007 to Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Brazil is Florida’s top international merchandise trade partner, with trade valued at $13 billion in 2007, a nearly 15-percent increase over 2006. Brazil ranks first in total exports from Florida, valued at about $8 billion, with nearly half of those goods originating in Florida.

Other deals include:

• The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer plans to build a more than $50 million, 149,500-square-foot manufacturing plant at the Melbourne Airport that will employ 200 people.

• Renewable Fuels of Tallahassee LLC and Jacksonville-based Green Power Systems LLC last year signed a $182 million agreement with Brazil’s Controlsud International Group to convert municipal solid waste into clean energy.

Source: BizJournals.Com

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