Solidifying Florida’s Role in Trade and Logistics

> DOWNLOAD Our International One Pager

As Florida becomes the third most populous state in the nation and with an estimated six million new residents settling in our state by 2030, our state has to find new solutions that help, not only the way we view resources, but the way we run international business.

The global economy is expected to double in size throughout the next 20 years. One billion new consumers will enter the middle class by 2020, with two thirds living in emerging markets. By 2030, the world’s population will increase to 8.4 billion, 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 90 percent of economic growth, and 95 percent of consumers will live outside of U.S. borders.

Continuing to focus on diversifying our economy and markets of opportunity is an important strategy for success and continued growth. Free trade agreements adopted and under consideration create new business opportunities and have opened Florida to new markets. Florida is well positioned to not only benefit from international trade but play a pivotal role in new and emerging trade lanes.

Economic development in areas such as international trade, sea port, manufacturing, aerospace, aviation and other targeted clusters is tied directly to innovation, diversification and how well Florida can adapt to growing and changing trends.

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics 2.0 Report, Florida can create more than 150,000 high-wage jobs by growing manufacturing, exports and trade and logistics. In order to take advantage of changing trade routes, a historic expansion of the Panama Canal, and targeted infrastructure investments, we must continue to leverage and grow opportunities.

Strengthening Florida’s rapidly growing manufacturing industry will be the key to ensuring a robust global future. The Florida Chamber will support increasing Enterprise Florida’s budget for international trade and marketing activities and will continue to support initiatives that encourage growth in the manufacturing, trade and logistics industries.

The Florida Chamber will also continue to support strategic investments in our trade infrastructure, work to build a “talent supply chain” for trade, logistics and manufacturing workers and ensure an ongoing strategic presence in Washington, D.C. – advocating and positioning Florida for a leadership role at the federal level.

In order to become the number one state in the nation for innovation and economic development, we must continue to attract and retain high-skilled talent, target growing industries and continue to work toward the recommendations set forth in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics 2.0 report.

Learn how you can become involved in the Florida Chamber’s International efforts by contacting Alice Ancona or visit

John Medina Discusses Small Business, a Global Economy and More

“Free enterprise is not like playing a board game with a six year old,
where it seems like the rules change after every turn.”



Vice President of Business, Insurance, and Investment Services, First Commerce Credit Union
Florida Chamber Tallahassee Regional Board Chair


According to Chief Executive Magazine’s recently released 2016 Best & Worst States For Business, Florida ranks second best in business climate, right behind Texas.

On the Florida Chamber’s recent Series on Free Enterprise, John Medina, Vice President of Business, Insurance, and Investment Services, First Commerce Credit Union and Florida Chamber Tallahassee Regional Board Chair comments on the recent ranking.

“That is not a surprise at all,” said Medina. “And it’s because of obviously, the high standards and high quality of living that we have in the state but it also has to do with the business environment that we have. Now, while it’s good that we are number two in the nation, we are really a global economy. Florida is a global economy that needs to be competitive in a much larger marketplace. It’s because of organizations like the Florida Chamber that constantly advocate for a competitive business climate that we are able to create jobs and help provide opportunities for businesses to be successful in this state. Florida is very well positioned to be a highly competitive state, both nationally and globally.”

Florida’s business climate is home to many small businesses. In fact, two out of every three jobs in Florida are created by small businesses. Issues like resources and overall workforce development continue to remain on the forefront of the Florida Chamber’s mission to help Florida continue in the right direction.

Small businesses have a challenge understanding what the resources are in their community that can help them,” said Medina. “The other opportunity I think, is in the workforce development. I don’t know that a lot of folks realize that again, between FAMU, FSU, TCC, Flagler, Keiser, Lively, Pat Thomas, we have a plethora of educational resources located right here in our back yard. In particular I’m excited about the trade and certifications that we provide for employees for the labor markets in this community. A college education is great, and I encourage everyone to consider it, but the bottom line is we need folks that have trade skills and certification, that can do most of the things that small business requires us to do.”

 From incubators to programs at the many higher education institutes in Tallahassee, “this is a great location and a great region to be actively engaged in small business and entrepreneurship.”

 For Medina, free enterprise is a lot of things but must, above all, be consistent in order for our economy to thrive.

“Free enterprise is not like playing a board game with a six year old, where it seems like the rules change after every turn- basically at the end of the day the six year old is going to win every single time,” said Medina. “I think our small businesses are looking for a dynamic marketplace that is competitive, that has capitalism… but I think they are looking for a marketplace that has a modicum of predictability. Regulations, waivers, taxes- it’s extremely difficult for a small business owner to compete in this kind of marketplace without knowing what the rules of the game are and without having some level of predictability that those rules are going to remain in place or improve.”



If you are a small business in need of resources or workforce, please click below:

John Hartnett Discusses International Trade and Small Business Success

“Success does not come overnight with international trade. The challenges lie in understanding the cultural differences and maintaining realistic expectations of growth trends.”



Vice President of Global Business Development, Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc.
Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee


Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc. was recently named the Small Business Administration’s 2016 National Exporter of the Year Award and received the President’s “E” Award for U.S. Exporters.

On the Florida Chamber’s recent Series on Free Enterprise, John Hartnett, Vice President of Global Business Development at Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc. discusses the recent awards and what Florida businesses can do to become globally competitive.

“International trade is not easy, but it’s not overly complex either,” said Hartnett. “95 percent of consumers are overseas so there is a huge opportunity to grow business. The most important part of considering international expansion is to consider if the product is already doing well domestically, is management fully on board and willing to be patient with the international markets and are finances available to fund the expansion….Florida is privileged to have the resources of Enterprise Florida, Florida SBDC Network and U.S. Commercial Services.”

Florida’s manufacturing sector is a key driver in international trade, with the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade & Logistics 2.0 report showing 92 percent of Florida-origin exports are manufactured goods. Additionally, for every 10 jobs created in trade, there are 30 jobs supported by Florida export manufacturing and another 20 jobs supported in business services, transportation, etc.

“Opportunities for growth internationally in the manufacturing sector are astounding. This growth creates many high-wage, high-skilled jobs for Floridians and diversifies your client base throughout the world, making companies much more recession-proof….We have plentiful products, services, technology, brain power and agriculture that the world would want and need and we should be considering ourselves a global hub with unlimited growth potential.”

As a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, Hartnett is part of an elite group of thought leaders dedicated to finding solutions and challenges facing Florida’s future. When asked about the trends and disruptions that might occur by the year 2030, Hartnett provided the following response.

“Florida is expected to grow by over 6 million residents in the next 15 years and we must create approximately 2.1 million new jobs in that time frame to maintain the current levels of employment. Florida has never experienced a growth at this pace and it could have major implications on how we utilize our taxes, the poverty level and overall usage of our resources. However, we have an opportunity to absorb this momentous growth by focusing on smart job creation initiatives, such as targeting the sectors of international trade and logistics and creating ancillary job growth from increased global demand.”

For Hartnett, free enterprise means naturally allowing the market to determine the economic, financial and environmental concerns and structures without the rigidity of government forces.

“An organization with good management, adaptability, innovation and quality products and services allows for success in an ultra-competitive market. By having lower corporate taxes and less government involvement, Florida businesses have the resilience and fortitude to go out in the global marketplace and create incredible jobs for Floridians.”



If you are a small business looking to expand into global markets or improve your workforce, please click below:

European Nations Lead Investments in Florida’s Global Economy

CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261

Companies from Europe Account for 67% of all Florida
Foreign Employment and 17% of Florida Origin Exports

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 27, 2015) – European countries are the leaders among foreign investors, with majority foreign-owned companies from Europe accounting for 67 percent of all Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) employment in Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced today.

“Florida’s leading European investors include the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Europe presents unique strategic, trade and export opportunities for Florida,” said Alice Ancona, Director of Global Outreach for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “Currently, 17 percent of all Florida origin exports go to Europe, a market of over 500 million consumers. The U.S. and Europe represent half of the world’s economic production. Opening markets and creating jobs for Florida families are why trade is important to Florida.”

Florida visitors from Europe also help strengthen Florida’s economy and create jobs. In fact, every 85 visitors that come to Florida help create one new Florida job. Out of the top international countries for visitation to Florida, the UK ranked third, behind Canada and Brazil, with 1.6 million visitors in 2014.

The impact of international trade to Florida’s economy cannot be denied.

  • International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and
  • Directly supports more than 1 million Florida jobs.
  • Florida is the seventh largest exporter of state-origin products with Florida-origin exports totaling more than $58.6 billion and exports from Florida supporting 275,221 U.S. jobs in 2013.

But Florida’s business leaders know that Florida must continue to work hard to remain the leader in international initiatives.

“Florida has come a long way in building international economic development efforts, but our work is far from over,” said Doug Davidson, Market Executive of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “At Bank of America, we support the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research in trade and logistics because we know that Florida’s future lies in being globally competitive.”

The Florida Chamber’s Global Florida Program’s mission is to educate and promote business opportunities, collaborate and advance policy initiatives in each of the four major geographic regions:  Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Africa. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam recently sponsored the Florida World Trade Month resolution, which was signed by Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and CFO Jeff Atwater.



The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.

Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise: Bob Grammig on Florida’s Global Economy

Florida is a global economy. In fact, if Florida was a country, it would be the 19th largest economy in the world. According to research from the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics Study 2.0, the global economy is expected to double in size over the next 20 years, with more than one billion new consumers by 2020.



For Florida to move in the right direction, we need to focus on the Florida Chamber Foundation’s initiatives to MOVE, MAKE and MULTIPLY.


“We need to emphasize (on) moving more trade through our seaports and air gateways,” said Bob Grammig, Partner at Holland & Knight. “We need to have an emphasis on moving more imports directly into Florida and better balancing the inbound and outbound trade flows. Second thing we need to do is make, grow and refine more products for exports from Florida by expanding exports of Florida-originated manufactured goods, agricultural products and other natural resources. And the third thing we need to do is to multiply the impacts of global trade in Florida by providing value added services to trading businesses and our trading partners around the world, by expanding our role as the global hub for visitors, investment and talent.”


Building a global economy means opportunities for Florida’s small businesses as well. In fact, 95 percent of our state’s 60,000 exporters are small-to-medium-sized businesses that produce two-thirds of Florida’s total export value.


“One of the top things we can do is to continue to identify and elimate legislative and regulatory impediments to international business,” said Grammig. “Big businesses can, in many cases, take care of themselves on this. But for smaller businesses, it’s very helpful to have an organization like the Florida Chamber to help drive necessary changes. The other thing… we want to do is continue to support the Governor’s strategic emphasis on trade and logistics -expansion of our seaports, improvements of our airports- which will facilitate smaller exporters to have access to those international markets. And the last thing is generally, to provide continuing support through trade missions and export promotion activities to various trade partners around the world.”



Economic trade missions like the upcoming one to Peru, hosted by Enterprise Florida, and events like the upcoming International Days will benefit businesses of all sizes.


“Business leaders will hear some top international trade experts and thought leaders when they are there. many people in our state underestimate the scope of our international business,” said Grammig. “There’s more than $60 billion in exports that we do. Small businesses I think will find especially usual to learn about the programs that the Florida Chamber as well as the state federal government have to assist their international efforts.”

Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line Featuring Lee Sandler

“It’s Florida’s Time”—
Opportunities in Florida’s Global Economy

The latest edition of The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Bottom Line features chair of the Florida Chamber’s International Business Council, Lee Sandler, who talks about the opportunities Florida’s businesses and families have in a global economy.

“It’s Florida’s time because we are in the right position, we have the right culture, we have the right infrastructure,” Sandler states. “This is a time when the U.S. has recognized that the global economy really is our area for growth. So Florida, and Floridian companies, are really in a position to take advantage of the global economy in ways we didn’t have available before. Communications are better, transportation is better, our infrastructure is better. There’s a push from the government as well as from the private sector to move goods internationally.”

In fact, Florida’s existing logistics infrastructure makes our state uniquely suited to take advantage of a thriving global marketplace.

Consider that:

  • Florida is the 6th largest exporting state in the US, making it a leading global hub.
  • According to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department, just in 2013 alone Florida’s exports supported more than 275,000 jobs.
  • Research completed by the Florida Chamber Foundation highlights as many as 150,000 new jobs in trade, transportation and logistics in Florida are possible.

In addition, one out of every five U.S. exporters, more than 60,000 businesses, are located right here in Florida.

But Sandler points out building a global importing reputation is just as important as our state’s strong export industry.

“When you talk about Florida exports, that’s the most important element of economic growth for us,” states Sandler. “On the other hand, we need to build imports [as well] and in-transit activity, because that balance of trade is what makes us true trading partners and really gives us the growth we are looking for.”

And while the job numbers look good, Sandler also points out our state’s work is far from over.

“The opportunities are just beginning,” says Sandler. “Those are wonderful numbers but we can build them even greater by having the right type of educational institutions, by promoting business activities in trade and taking advantage of the infrastructure changes that are already in place and ongoing. So we see those numbers are going to dramatically increase over the next decade as we take advantage of our position and the opportunities a global economy offers Floridians.”

The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line is a web-based program featuring key figures from Florida’s corridors of power. Hosting the conversation with Lee Sandler is Emily Martin, Corporate Relations Manager.