Florida targets Brazil with Gov.-elect Rick Scott's aid
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Enterprise Florida is expanding its help for Florida companies looking to do business in Brazil and may soon offer money to manufacturers and exporters based here while working to convince Gov.-elect Rick Scott to lead a mission there next fall.
The effort "will include road shows" in Florida to promote the state to international customers and in Brazil to promote it abroad, said Manny Mencia, senior vice president for international trade and business for the state's economic development agency, and "a more proactive effort to get Florida companies to participate in US-certified trade shows in Brazil."
He couldn't say how much the agency will contribute to those grants, or how more much it will spend on promoting doing business with Florida.
The effort falls in line with a report board member and economist J. Antonio Villamil crafted for the agency that points to Brazil as one of Florida's most important markets for international visitors, exports and direct investments.
Its economy is expected to grow 4% to 5% annually between 2010 and 2015, say the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Brazil was the Miami Customs District's top trading partner in 2009, with more than $11 billion in goods moving between the two.
Enterprise Florida's efforts look to be focused on helping companies get footholds there.
"We're working on a programmatic outline, but it will include a market-entry effort that might include some grants for Florida producers, new to market producers," Mr. Mencia said, "to help them offset [the US Commercial Service's] Gold Key and trade show participation costs,"
Florida now has the largest pavilion at Hospitalar, a healthcare supply show held annually in São Paulo that in 2010 attracted 90,000 attendees from 41 countries, according to its website.
Enterprise Florida has also run two export missions to Brazil and hopes for another to be led by Gov.-elect Rick Scott in fall 2011.
"I can't speak for him," Mr. Mencia said, but "Gov. Scott has indicated that he wants to be very proactive in international development for Florida and be in effect Florida's lead marketer."
The timing for the governor to take such action may be just right. His inauguration is Jan. 4 and he will soon have to begin fulfilling his 7-7-7 plan, which seeks to create 700,000 jobs in seven years through seven steps, including reducing government spending and property taxes along with focusing on job growth and retention and world-class universities.
A recent trade and logistics report commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce argues bolstering Florida's international trade and improving statewide cargo logistics could create 32,000 jobs.
Florida seeks Middle East, China and India trade links. Read the story in e-Miami Today.