Economic Climate

Global trade a bright spot in current economic climate

ORLANDO, FL (December 19, 2008) – International trade has been the fastest growing sector in Florida’s economy since 2007. And, despite the current economic climate, export sales have emerged as a notable bright spot as evidenced by the latest trade statistics for the first 10 months of 2008.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, export sales of Florida products have increased by 25.3 percent through October of 2008, far exceeding the nation’s growth of 16.2 percent.

Florida ranks behind only Texas, California, New York and Washington as an exporter but has outperformed all the major exporting states in 2008 including those. Each had double-digit increases in 2008 but not higher than Florida’s, which has exported $46.8 billion in goods, already beating the record $46.2 billion in export sales achieved in 2007. This figure does not take into consideration the export of services, estimated to reach an additional $30 billion dollars this year.

“We surpassed Illinois by the end of October, positioning Florida to become the fifth largest export state by year-end,” observed Manny Mencía, senior vice president of Enterprise Florida’s international trade division. Illinois’ rate of growth peaked at 11.4 percent. “We are particularly pleased that Florida has cemented its position as the third largest exporter of high technology products in the nation,” Mencía continued.

Among Florida’s leading export destinations in Latin America and Europe from January – October 2008:

·       Brazil — 35.62 percent increase
·       Venezuela — 21.4 percent increase
·       Colombia — 21.7 percent increase
·       United Kingdom – 23.5 percent increase
·       Germany – 29.6

India rose to fourth place from 21st among Florida’s export destinations almost entirely because of fertilizer sales, which increased by 240.1 percent.

Florida also had gains in exports of these leading commodities:

·       Fertilizers — 140.4 percent increase
·       Motor cars and vehicles — 79 percent increase
·       Turbojets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines and parts – 49.7 percent increase
·       Medical, surgical, dental instruments – 36.3 percent increase
·       Electronic integrated circuits and micro-assemblies – 25.0 percent increase.

More than 44,000 Florida companies export, representing the second largest concentration of exporters nationwide at 16.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At least 1.1 million jobs in Florida depend on international business, with more than 850,000 linked to global trade and 248,000 deriving from foreign direct investment.

“Trade and foreign investment support employment in all areas of the state, with rural regions accounting for nearly a third of the total jobs relying on international business, employing more than 350,000 Floridians,” Mencía said. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that international companies on average, grow faster, pay 15 percent higher wages and are much more profitable than those that do not export.


When your business is located in a place with favorable business tax structure, government policies and competitive costs, it is easy to plan for future growth and ensure that your capital investments will be working for your business. You can have this peace-of-mind in Florida, which ranks among the best states for business thanks to its pro-business state tax policies, competitive cost of doing business and streamlined regulatory environment. The state is proud of its welcoming business climate and competitive advantages.

Business-friendly Government: Florida’s government and economic development leaders work together to ensure that the state’s business climate remains favorable to companies of all sizes, including some of the nation’s leading corporations. Florida is working on legislative, fiscal and marketplace initiatives such as insurance tort reform, targeted industry incentives and others. A recent report notes the success in creating a competitive worker compensation market in the state. The state is also one of only a few right-to-work states in the U.S.

Competitive Cost of Doing Business: Florida offers a cost-efficient alternative to other competitive high-tech states. Put simply, land, labor, and capital are more affordable in Florida than in California or New York, for example. In addition, for businesses in certain targeted industries or specialized locations, the state offers additional financial incentives. Businesses looking for workforce training, road infrastructure or specialized locations, may also qualify for specific incentive programs.

Pro-Business Tax Structure: Business dollars go a lot farther here given Florida’s tax advantages, tax exemptions and no state personal income tax. Businesses thrive in this low-tax environment and employees enjoy the benefit of no personal income tax.

Expedited Permitting: Florida understands that businesses need certainty, predictability and efficiency in government regulations. The state’s regulatory agencies and local governments provide quicker, less costly and more predictable permitting processes for significant economic development projects without reducing environmental standards.

Available Resources: For entrepreneurs and growing businesses, Florida offers access to capital from private, state, federal and other sources. The state has implemented capital formation initiatives, such as the Florida Opportunity Fund, and economic gardening programs that help Florida businesses expand by offering specialized services such as market information, leadership development, and business management tools. Strategic support is also available to foster the strong entrepreneurial culture in the state.