Becoming a Trade Powerhouse

By: Alice Ancona

Did you know, that if Florida were a country, we would be the 16th largest economy in the world?

This is a testament to the strength of our economy and the strategic investments that have been made to our workforce and infrastructure, as well as a laser focus on creating a favorable climate for business, something the Florida Chamber works toward each day.

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Seventeen percent of Florida’s GDP is tied to trade and, as such, has been an important contributor to our economic success. Florida has impressive – enviable even – trade infrastructure. We have invested more than $1 billion in ports and port-related infrastructure and our educational institutions have increased their focus and are offering more programs in trade, logistics and supply chain management. Our manufacturers rank second in export intensity and we are consistently ranked among the top states for exports year after year. Florida has incredible trade relationships around the world and is host to more than 80 foreign consulates and commercial offices. We also rank second in concentration of international bank presence.

Yet we lag behind other states in trade prowess.

So how do we trade more?

In as much as there are many benefits to trade – there are also many obstacles that our small business exporters face. Issues range from understanding rules of origin to leveraging free trade agreements to having greater supply chain visibility… just to name a few.

There is no doubt that trade brings tremendous benefits but it also brings risks. Keeping up with competition and growing the bottom line are important drivers for doing business internationally. Globalization has changed the world in significant ways and having an international strategy is increasingly an important part of a company’s success.

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent Trade and Logistics Report:

  • Florida is home to one in five of the nation’s exporters.
  • More than 95 percent of exporters are small to medium sized businesses that together produce two thirds of Florida’s total export value.
  • Export-oriented companies typically grow 15 percent faster, pay 15 percent higher wages, and are 12 percent more profitable than firms operating solely in the U.S. market.
  • The workers in Florida’s transportation, trade, and logistics industries who make all this possible earn 30 percent higher wages than the state average.

So how can the Florida Chamber help you?

Engaging in international trade will never be without risk. Managing those risks and leveraging tools for trade success are what has helped many companies be successful internationally.

We want to hear from you as we get ready to prepare new programs and improve on our initiatives this coming year. How can we help you trade more? What obstacles do you face? Email me directly with your thoughts at aancona@flchamber.com. I look forward to hearing from you.