Florida Chamber Of Commerce: Sunshine State ‘Made For Trade’

With May being World Trade Month, the Florida Chamber of Commerce took a moment this week to remind the globe that the Sunshine State was “made for trade.”

“During World Trade Month, it is important to recognize that Florida’s geography, history and cultural connections have served as a strong foundation for strong trade relationships,” said JaxPort CEO Eric Green.

Green, who is a Florida Chamber member, added that “Florida is poised to be at the forefront of driving new trade opportunities.”

According to the most recent Port Performance report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Florida had five ports in the nation’s top 25. Those ports were: Jacksonville, Miami, Palm Beach, Port Everglades and Tampa. Green’s JaxPort is the state’s number one container port complex by volume. That said, all 15 of Florida’s seaports are vital to the state’s economy.

In South Florida, PortMiami pumps $41 billion annually into the local economy and accounts for more than 324,000 jobs.

Port Tampa Bay’s economic impact is $17.2 billion and supports 85,000 jobs while Port Everglades accounts for more than $30 billion and creates over 230,000 jobs.

At Port Panama City, the recently completed 100,000-square-foot expansion of their distribution warehouse will bring in an estimated 400 jobs.

Port Canaveral’s construction of an $150-million terminal will create nearly 4,000 permanent jobs.

“Florida is not just a great place to live and do business, but has an incredibly diversified economy” said Florida Chamber of Commerce Chair Bob Grammig. “By expanding Florida’s role as the global hub for trade and logistics, we are creating jobs, attracting and retaining talent and providing more opportunities for businesses who want to grow or expand in our state.”

A recent Business Roundtable study revealed one in five Florida jobs are supported by international trade, including exports and imports.

The raw number of jobs supported was close to 2.4 million, with these trade-related jobs growing “three times faster than total employment from 1992 to 2017.”

“You know it’s undeniable that, particularly in Florida, we’re a state where trade really matters,” said former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez. “Thousands upon thousands of jobs are created because of trade. The opportunity for economic growth, the opportunity for employment as well as the security component of trade.”

In 2018, Florida’s GDP hit $1 trillion, which, if it were a country, would make it the 17th largest economy in the world.

According to the Chamber, more than 61,000 companies throughout the state export and over 37 percent of the state’s manufactured goods are exports. Close to 40 percent of Florida origin exports, which is good for eighth in the nation, head to countries that have trade agreements with the U.S.

“We can all win with a good trade agreement. The rules have to be fair, we have to make sure that we look out for our people, but there is a way to make it where it’s a win-win for everyone concerned,” Martinez said. “Florida is a tremendous beneficiary of the trade agreements we have been engaged in because we are a trade state. We are so connected to the world, we have so many foreign visitors. And it is essential that we continue, as the United States as a country and us as a state, to participate with the world in the economic prosperity that we have all enjoyed over so many years.”