Did You Know Florida Exports $1.1 Billion in Goods to Panama?

Did You Know?

From 2008 to 2010, $1.1 billion in Florida goods were exported to Panama? In addition, Florida is home to more than 60,000 exporting companies, meaning one out of every five of the nation’s exporters are located in Florida

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is currently visiting business leaders in Panama to strengthen our trade relationship and further drive our state to becoming the global hub for trade to and from the U.S.

Joined by Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, and several Florida Chamber partners, we are actively advocating to become a global leader in international trade.


Representatives from the Florida Chamber and Enterprise Florida tour Gatún Locks at the Panama Canal.

Pictured from left-to-right: Florida Chamber Executive V.P. David Hart, Enterprise Florida V.P. of Trade Development Services Ivan Barrios, Enterprise Florida Senior V.P. of International Trade and Development Manny Mencia, Florida Chamber Director of Global Outreach Alice Ancona and Florida Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida President and CEO Gray Swoope.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal and the Free Trade Agreement, Panama presents Florida companies with tremendous opportunities. Post-Panamax vessels are nearly three times the size as current vessels being used. Florida is poised to have the first port south of Virginia, PortMiami, which can receive the post-Panamax ships that will be coming from Asia through the Canal. Florida’s gateways are better prepared at being able to facilitate the trade relationship between Florida and Panama.

Florida’s 15 deep-water seaports are well-positioned to lead the way to attract new international trade and commerce. Thanks to unprecedented support from the Florida Legislature, our ports can boast state-of-the-art infrastructure investments and increased connectivity from strategic projects such as on-dock rail and intermodal container transfer facilities. These new opportunities are outlined in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Trade & Logistics 2.0 Study, which offers recommendations that will help fuel Florida’s competitive growth.

But realizing our state’s global potential requires vision.

“As the global marketplace doubles in size over the next 20 years, we ignore the importance of international trade at our own demise,” said Doug Davidson, Market Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Trade & Logistics Institute. “We have to continue to shed light on the opportunities, and with leadership from the business community, policy makers, and organizations like the Florida Chamber Foundation through their Florida Trade & Logistics 2.0 Study, we can secure tens of thousands of high-wage jobs and guarantee that our state is globally competitive in 2030 and beyond.”

Team Florida Prepares For Economic Mission Trip to Panama

Global trade is now, more than ever, at the forefront of Florida’s recovering economy. we cannot deny that global trade is big business in Florida. Global trade means high-wage jobs and economic prosperity for Florida. The Sunshine State is home to more than 60,000 firms dedicated to bringing their goods and services to consumers around the globe. International business and foreign direct investment accounts for approximately 17 percent of Florida’s economic activity, and directly supports more than one million Florida jobs.

Solidifying Florida’s position as a global hub for trade is a key strategic initiative of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Florida has long been an important consumer market and a gateway for trade between the United States and Latin American and Caribbean nations.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal and the Free Trade Agreement, Panama presents Florida companies tremendous opportunities. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s original Trade and Logistics Study (2010), identified the Panama Canal expansion as a seminal moment and called for our state to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in ports and infrastructure. Governor Rick Scott and the legislature stepped-up with significant investments, and now Florida is poised to have the first port south of Virginia, PortMiami, that can receive the post-Panamax ships that will be coming from Asia through the Canal.

Post-Panamax vessels are nearly three times the size as current vessels being used. Florida’s gateways are better prepared at being able to facilitate the trade relationship between Florida and Panama.

Currently, Panama is one of the strongest economies in Latin America. The country boasts the second fastest growing GDP in the region, expected to reach a 6 percent growth in 2015. Total merchandise trade between Florida and Panama totaled $2.3 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow.

For these reasons, the Florida Chamber of Commerce- lead by Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope- will be joining partners Port Tampa Bay, Gulf Power, Keiser University, Port Miami, Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Bank of America, St Joe Company, Port Everglades, Tampa International Airport Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, and Doug Wheeler of Florida Ports Council on an Export Sales Mission to Panama October 5-7.

The widening of the Panama Canal, together with the growth in Latin American and Caribbean markets, will realign global trade lanes and increase flows through this region in the coming decades.

Today the state of Florida is a global hub for trade. It took decades of innovative efforts, resourcefulness and entrepreneurship from the private sector, strategic investments from the public sector and capitalizing on opportunities like free trade agreements and the expansion of the Panama Canal to claim this title.

Florida’s international relationships are invaluable to our economy. By working to create opportunities with nations like Panama, and fueling massive economic development projects like the Panama Canal expansion and the dredging of PortMiami, we can diversify our own economy and fuel long-term investments by global businesses. Everything we do, we do on a global scale.

Florida’s future prosperity and our growth as a global hub for international trade are inextricably linked. In order for Florida to continue on its mission to be a global hub for trade, the business community must unite and policymakers must remain committed to Florida’s trade future. We hope you will save the date for International Days 2015, April 7-9. Contact aancona@flchamber.com for more information.

Panama is Unrivalled – Just Look at the Rankings

By Dr Ian Collard, British Ambassador to Panama.

In recent years, while Europe has been struggling with the impact of an economic downturn, the economies of Latin America have bucked global trends and exceeded expectations.

High rates of economic growth, substantial infrastructure development and the emergence of the Pacific Alliance are evidence of Latin America’s new role in a changing world economy.

Panama – tagged by many as the Central American Tiger – has led the region’s economic performance for the last decade, with an extraordinary annual growth rate averaging around 8%.

Panama is the region’s emerging logistics hub with an unrivalled distribution network and connectivity, representing an easy and business-friendly entry point into wider regional markets.

With World Economic Forum indicators ranking Panama fourth in the world for the quality of its port facilities, first in Latin America for its air transport facilities, and first in the western hemisphere for the availability of its financial services, it is difficult to argue against its self-declared moniker as a gateway to the Americas.

Panama also has the largest public infrastructure programme in Central America. Mega projects include the expansion of the Panama Canal, development of Panama City’s Metro system, and development over several years of new logistics and port facilities.

Construction of an additional container port on the Pacific coast, a logistics park at the Pacific end of the Canal, container-on-barge services across the Canal, and a LNG bunkering station are some of the additional projects mooted.

It is little wonder that UKTI has added such projects to its list of global High Value Opportunities for British businesses.

Many of these endeavours will strengthen Panama’s logistics capacity, reinforcing its important geostrategic position in world trade and regional distribution, and enhancing its offer as a one-stop location for value-adding services.

Panama has a key role facilitating trade across the region, connecting north and south, providing a natural hub for commerce, and acting as a magnet for investment. Panama’s banking centre is home to 65 Latin American institutions, competing with Miami to be the regional financial centre of the Americas.

More than 100 multinational companies have established their regional and logistical headquarters in Panama, taking advantage of its communications, maritime and air links, and the tax incentives on offer.

In Colon, Panama has the second largest free trade zone in the world after Hong Kong, providing a home to more than 2,500 companies and handling more than $30bn in imports and re-exports from all corners of the world each year. As an increasingly popular regional distribution base, Panama has also become the shopping capital of the region for tourists and business visitors. In its highly diversified economy, retail accounted for as much as 14% of GDP in 2012

The indicators are already positive. With Panama’s ambition to join forces with the other Pacific

Alliance countries, Panama’s economic and commercial future looks even brighter.

The signing of a Free Trade Agreement with Mexico earlier this year was the last technical hurdle to Alliance membership. As a bloc, Alliance countries represent the second largest user of the Panama Canal, reinforcing the importance of Panama at the centre of the group’s trade strategy with Europe, the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Panama is booming and it is open for business. I am confident that this country and the wider region will continue to grow, and will provide exciting new opportunities for UK businesses. I encourage you to read on and discover more about this fascinating and vibrant region.