Florida Governor Rick Scott has led several trade missions to South America since assuming his position in January, 2011. In addition to missions in Canada, Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom, Gov. Scott has also successfully led missions to assess opportunities in Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
It seems only natural, then, that Gov. Scott embarked on a trade mission to Chile this week. Gov. Scott and over 100 other representatives from organizations including Florida business and higher education institutions will also be attending the trade initiative.
As the last trade mission to Chile by a Florida governor was made in 2007, Gov. Scott is looking to advance international trade and strengthen Florida’s relationship with this South American region.
While several of Florida’s ports receive Chilean imports, the Governor wants to increase the volume of Chilean cargo arriving at ports throughout the state. Maritime cargo activities have created over half a million jobs at Florida’s ports. The group also intends to further develop job opportunities for Florida residents and expand investments with Chile, according to the governor’s office.
Imports and exports from Florida’s ports totaled $85 billion in 2012, as stated in a report from the governor’s office. “Chile is Florida’s seventh largest trade partner with nearly $7.7 billion in bilateral trade. Florida-origin exports to Chile have expanded by 53% in the last two years,” according to the report.
Digging into shipping records within the Import Genius international trade database, over 5,080 Chilean shipments were received at ports throughout Florida last year. These shipments contained over 887.5 million pounds on cargo. Over a third of these shipments were checked into the Port of Miami, as the port received 1,850 shipments from Chile last year.
An even larger share of cargo was recorded at the Port of Everglades. Of the nearly 5,100 shipments from Chile in 2012, Everglades was the final destination for 45% of them. These shipments contained about 136.1 million pounds.
Last month, we made mention of the Port of Miami’s goal to increase fruit imports from Chile. While fruit is one product presenting an area of viable opportunity, copper imports are already a commodity giving Florida an advantage. The Port of Panama City is at the top of the tier for Chilean copper imports.
17,000 Chilean-Americans reside in Miami. Florida’s population of Chilean-Americans is nearly the largest in the county, second to California. With so many Chileans residing in Florida, it seems Chile is an ideal opportunity for trade liaisons and an increased partnership with the sunshine state.