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May 26, 2018

Top 10 Reasons to do Business in Florida

2. Global Hub

Janet Ware | 9/21/2010

Miami is a focal point for Western Hemisphere trade. [Photo: Visit Florida]
Its prime geographic location and economic and political stability put Florida at the center of trade and finance in the Western Hemisphere. International business, including both trade in goods and services as well as foreign direct investment, accounts for approximately 15% of Florida's economy.

Florida's total merchandise trade (exports plus imports) totaled $103 billion in 2009. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 60% of the state's total merchandise trade, followed by Europe and Asia at 16% and 15%, respectively.

Florida remains the nation's 3rd largest exporter of high-tech products in the U.S.; sales in 2009 totaled more than $13.4 billion. Florida also is a significant exporter of knowledge-based services, such as accounting, consulting, engineering, financial, legal, medical, telecommunications and transportation services. In 2009, these exports reached $27.9 billion and supported 390,000 Florida jobs. And at $47 billion in 2009, Florida-origin exports — goods produced or with significant value added in Florida — accounted for 23% of all U.S. exports to Latin America and the Caribbean, higher than any other state.

Foreign Direct Investment Rankings by Investment and Employment

Investment Employment
Japan: $4.16 billion United Kingdom: 45,000 jobs
Germany: $4.13 billion Canada: 24,300 jobs
United Kingdom: $3.88 billion Germany: 22,600 jobs
Australia: $3.56 billion Japan: 21,100 jobs
Canada: $3.36 billion Netherlands: 20,700 jobs

China and Japan are the top importers into the state, accounting for a combined total of more than $9 billion worth of imports coming into Florida in 2009. Motor vehicles are the No. 1 import to Florida. Much of the international commerce coming into and out of the U.S. travels through Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs). In Florida, international businesses have access to the second largest network in the nation. While primarily located in or around the state's international airports and seaports, FTZs also function in inland areas such as Ocala, Sebring, Sanford and Homestead. These zones allow tariff-free value to be added to foreign goods before they are shipped on to other countries.

At the same time, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Florida came to $33.6 billion in 2007 (most recent data), making this state the nation's 9th largest recipient of FDI. In all, 1,500 foreign-affiliated companies operate in Florida from about 2,400 individual locations around the state. And with a total of 245,800 jobs supported by majority foreign-owned companies, Florida ranks 6th in the nation in FDI employment and 1st in the Southeast.

Orlando International
At 13,297 acres, Orlando International Airport is the nation's 3rd largest airport in land mass. [Photo: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority]
Miami is second only to New York as a U.S. center for international banking. More than 70 foreign and domestic banks active in international trade and finance have offices in Florida, including six of the 10 largest banks in the world.

With one of the world's most extensive multi-modal transportation systems, including 21 commercial airports, 14 deepwater shipping ports, a vast network of highways and railway connections and two spaceports, Florida's reach spans the globe and beyond. (For a map of Florida's airports, seaports and spaceports, click here.) Direct and/or one-stop air service is available to all key Latin American and Caribbean destinations, most major European cities and numerous destinations in the Asia/Pacific region.

Recognized as one of the top five telecommunications hubs in the world, Florida is a true global gateway. The Network Access Point (NAP) in Miami serves as a major switching station for Internet traffic coming to and from Latin America, while other high-speed networks, such as the Florida LambdaRail and LA Grid, facilitate research and development efforts. Florida also has some of the fastest and most widely available networks for high-speed and wireless connectivity.

Florida's Top 5 Merchandise Trading Partners (in billions)

1 Brazil $12.6
2 Colombia 6.3
3 China (Mainland) 5.8
4 Venezuela 4.8
5 Japan 4.2

Florida is the second most active participant in Sister City/State programs in the United States and hosts a Consular Corps representing some 78 nations. And with a vast network of 12 international offices, seven trade offices located around the state and 15 country-specific websites, Enterprise Florida offers many vital services for businesses looking to locate in Florida from overseas and for Florida-based businesses looking to expand internationally.

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