Sunday, June 26, 2011

South Florida’s Global Trade Expands

The Miami Herald: South Florida's Global Impact Expands ; Brazil's Importance to South Florida's Economy ; Trade Through South Florida Ports Sets Records
The Business Journal: South Florida Global Trade Poised to Hit $100B
World City: U.S. Trade Tops $3 Trillion in 2010

The area of South Florida is not just known for its great beaches and tourist destinations, but it is also one of the main entrances into the United States for imports from Latin America and the world. South Florida is unique among the nation's customs districts in that about 60 percent of its total trade ($95.38 billion) is driven by exports, as compared to the national U.S. exports to imports ratio of 40 percent to exports and 60 percent to imports. The strength of South Florida’s export-driven economy illustrates the region's role in supplying the market demands of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The area’s top exports include aircrafts, precious scrap metal, cellular phones and equipment, and computers and computer parts. Its top imports include gold, non-crude oil, cellular phone equipment, and computer parts. In addition, $366 million worth of live crustaceans and $691 million worth of fresh-cut flowers came in through ports of South Florida.

The Miami Customs District, which includes airports and seaports from Palm Beach to Key West, set a record among customs districts for the greatest total trade, which reached $95.38 billion last year. Of this, exports totaled $58.8 billion and imports amounted to $36.6 billion. The trade total in this region is now well on its way to surpass, for the first time this year, the $100 billion figure. The area will be only the 11th Customs District in the country to do so.

The majority of the goods exported by South Florida are sent to countries in Latin America. In 2010, the area exported $11.9 billion to Brazil, $4.1 billion to Colombia, $4.07 billion to Venezuela, and significant amounts to other Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Chile and Mexico. South Florida also exports to European countries significantly, it exported $4.99 billion worth of goods to Switzerland in 2010.

Among South Florida’s top trading partners, Brazil is by far at the top of the list. In 2010, Florida’s export trade with Brazil increased by 27 percent from the previous year, to a record of $14.4 billion. Similarly, the area imported $1.47 billion from Brazil. This increase in trade is due to a 7.5 percent economic growth and the increasing consumer demand that Brazil is currently facing. Also, Brazilian tourists spend more money in South Florida than in any other part of the country. Thirty-five percent of real estate buyers in downtown Miami are Brazilians.

Likewise, many Asian companies are directly investing in South Florida. For instance, Hong Kong’s Swire Group recently announced a new construction project, Brickell CitiCentre, in downtown Miami, valued at $700 million. Genting Group, a Malaysian company, also plans to build a $3 billion resort called World Miami. These investments are expected to bring in more visitors and increase South Florida’s global trade as additional goods will be imported to satisfy the visitors’ demands.

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