Florida is a global hub for trade. It took decades of innovative efforts, resourcefulness and entrepreneurship from the private sector, strategic investments from the public sector and capitalizing on opportunities like free trade agreements and the expansion of the Panama Canal to earn the title.
More than one in five Florida jobs depends on international trade. Florida’s trade-related employment grew eight times faster than total employment from 2004-2011. Florida merchandise exports grew three times faster than Florida’s GDP, and international business now accounts for more than 17 percent of Florida’s economy.
But the future of trade, Florida jobs and our state’s competitiveness are in jeopardy. That’s because Congress has yet to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), and failure to do so by September 30th will put thousands of Florida jobs and hundreds of companies that depend on Ex-Im to compete in global markets at risk.
To secure Florida’s future, and prevent Florida jobs from going to foreign competitors, the Florida Chamber of Commerce supports reauthorizing Ex-Im. Ex-Im is particularly important to small- and medium-sized businesses. In fact, those businesses account for more than 85 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions. In the last five years alone, Ex-Im has helped more than 500 Florida small businesses, 133 of which are minority owned, with export finance – a $6 billion value on Florida-based exports…
Thanks to Governor Scott, Florida is moving in the right direction again. There are greater job opportunities, our population is growing, education reforms are working and so much more. Florida is in a unique position to take advantage of international trade opportunities and to make our state the number one hub for global trade.
Now it’s time for Congress show they care about the thousands of Florida jobs and hundreds of Florida businesses at risk. For a more competitive Florida, now is the time to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States.