Alan Becker, Board member of Enterprise and Chair of Beacon Council, with Gov Scott meets with business leaders in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Managing Shareholder Alan Becker, our guest blogger, who just returned from the Enterprise Florida Trade Mission to Brazil with Governor Rick Scott and a delegation of Florida business leaders. Alan is the Chair of the Beacon Council, MIami Dade County’s Economic Development agency.
Brazil was the # 1 trading partner for the Miami Customs district in 2010 and has been the top trading partner for more than a decade. It is Florida’s # 1 trade partner with over $15 billion in annual trade. Of that, $13 billion is export to Brazil, so there is a lot of room for increased trade importing to Florida.
Many of the largest Brazilian companies already have regional or US headquarters in Miami, such as Odebrecht, Itau Bank, TAM Airlines, and many others.
Miami – Dade County is the area where most of this trade takes place, which is not surprising. Of Dade’s 2.5 million residents, half are foreign born and 2/3 speak a second language in addition to English, almost all from the Caribbean, Central and South American. There are at least 50,000 Brazilians living in South Florida.
In 2010, 555,000 visitors came from Brazil just to Miami-Dade County and spent $1 billion–the first country to reach $1 billion in visitor spending. It is estimated that if there were a waiver of the visa requirement, those figures would immediately double.
Miami International Airport has more daily direct flights to South America than all other US airports combined. There are 93 weekly direct flights to cities in Brazil with 20,000 seats. The Port of Miami services 13 Brazilian Ports with cargo ships each week. With the deep dredge of the Port, making us the first ready for the post Panamax super ships, and the tunnel to move Port travel, the Port of
Miami, already # 1 in international cargo, is positioned to double its cargo capacity by 2014.
This affinity between Miami and Brazil underscores the reason why business activity is so great and is growing.