Florida Benefits from New Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements, Miami Port Leading the Way

Florida Benefits from New Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements, Miami Port Leading the Way

Commercial News » Commercial Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | October 20, 2011 8:30 AM ET

(MIAMI, FL) -- Beyond the coming Panama canal expansion boom in 2014, the new Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will offer additional new opportunities to expand international trade and commerce that will be a direct and significant benefit the Port of Miami and the State of Florida overall.

"The Port of Miami, with more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements on the way, is poised to garner a much larger percentage of trade with these countries once the agreements are signed," said Port Director Bill Johnson. "Free trade means expanded job-creation for truckers, brokers, shippers, stevedores, farmers, and US companies. The agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will support tens of thousands of American jobs."

In the past, the Port of Miami has increased trade exponentially with countries, such as Peru, that have signed similar free trade agreements.  Johnson, also chairman of the World Trade Center Miami, said the Port looks forward to similar increases once the new trade agreements are executed.

"I want to thank our Congressional Delegation, our Mayor, the Miami-Dade County Commission and South Florida business leaders who have been steadfast advocates for these agreements," Johnson said.  "I look forward to strengthening our relationship with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea - critical partners in trade that provide tremendous growth potential for our region, state and nation."

The Florida Chamber also supported the passage of these new trade agreements and believes the ratification of these agreements with benefit Florida because;

  • Will double Florida-origin exports within five years,
  • Creating more than 20,000 new jobs, and
  • Generating more than $1.5 billion in international trade opportunities for Florida.

"This gives businesses throughout the state a dynamic platform to re-energize Florida's economy and grow jobs. It moves us from government debate to business deals," said Lee Sandler, Chair of the Florida Chamber's International Business Committee and Founding Member of Florida's first customs/trade law firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg, PA in Miami. "While our history and geography will focus our immediate attention on business with Colombia and Panama, the new Korean opportunities may provide the greatest long term growth for the state."

Florida is well positioned for a more commanding role as a global hub for trade, logistics, services and export-oriented manufacturing activities over the next decade, according to the 2010 Florida Trade and Logistics Study conducted by the Florida Chamber Foundation.

According to the study, Florida's larger role can be attributed to:

  • Florida's geographic location in the fastest growing U.S. business and consumer market at the crossroads of growing north-south and east-west trade lanes,
  • The widening of the Panama Canal, and
  • The growth in Latin American and Caribbean markets will re-align global trade lanes and increase flows through Florida in the coming decades.

"Passage of the Free Trade Agreements puts Florida in prime position to truly become a global trade leader," said Anthony Connelly, Chair-Elect of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. "Florida exports to Colombia, Panama and South Korea will not only increase, our state will see the creation of thousands of more jobs, and Florida will experience mutually beneficial partnerships with nations critical to our region, state, and nation."

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