The readers’ forum

Take advantage of global market opportunities

 

In May, South Florida will join with other locales across the United States to mark World Trade Month, an initiative to recognize global trade as a powerful driving force of the nation’s economy. Anyone who does business — or would like to expand their business — beyond our borders is invited to participate.

With our strategic location at the center of the Americas, unmatched air and sea transportation facilities and multicultural workforce, Miami is the ideal locale to grow an international business that contributes to the strength of our regional economy. Yet, many companies aren’t taking advantage of today’s global market opportunities.

To help open the door, a series of trade development meetings, missions and seminars is planned for Miami World Trade Month during May. Businesses considering entering international markets or diversifying their export programs can benefit from these informational, networking and trade promotion sessions organized by World Trade Center Miami, its sponsors and 14 participating organizations that focus on doing business in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Companies can learn best practices for exporting and importing, tour the international cargo operations at PortMiami and Miami International Airport and participate in outbound trade missions to the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

These events are designed to help area businesses — especially small and mid-size companies — capitalize on the vast opportunities available throughout the world. For a list, visit www.miamiworldtrademonth.com. In keeping with the statewide agenda, our state is also marking Florida World Trade Month.

Thanks to the robust economies in leading Latin American nations and the strength of other emerging markets, Florida’s international trade grew 8.7 percent to a record $162.2 billion in 2012. That’s more than double the national average of 3.6 percent. Exports originating in Florida — from manufactured goods to agricultural products — also reached an all-time high of $66.4 billion.

As a result, Florida had the highest trade surplus among all 50 states. Today, international business — including goods, services and foreign direct investment — accounts for about 18 percent of Florida’s economy and supports an estimated 1 million jobs.

In the next few years, international trade will become an even more dominant sector in South Florida’s economy because of the rise of Latin America’s middle class, the opening of a wider Panama Canal in 2015 and the strength of emerging markets in Africa and Asia. South Florida businesses can learn about export and import opportunities by participating in Miami World Trade Month.

Charlotte Gallogly, president,

World Trade Center Miami, Miami

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