Silver lining: Florida exports to Asia and Middle East were up
Economic weakness in some parts of South America and Europe drove a 4% decline in Florida exports to foreign countries last year. Most notably, Switzerland’s purchase of gold through Florida gateways plunged 75%, reflecting a drop in global demand. Asia and the Middle East, however, were bright spots, with $11 billion worth of Florida-origin exports shipped to those regions, an 8% increase. Led by Hong Kong, Asia and the Middle East surpassed Europe as the state’s second-largest regional export market.
“Our growth in Asia has averaged 46% from 2010 through 2014. We had a small slowdown in 2014 while we spent a lot of time and resources on R&D efforts, but we’ve already seen a landmark improvement in Asia just in our first quarter of 2015.”
— Christopher Giordano, director of global sales and support at Orlando software firm Distributed Simulation Technology (DiSTI)
“Over 70% of our sales are international, and our largest export market by a very safe margin is China. We recently opened offices in Beijing and Shanghai to support future expansion.”
— Eric Gelman, director of business development for Quantachrome, a Boynton Beach manufacturer of scientific instruments used in industrial and research laboratories
“Our sales in China have been growing 30% to 40% a year for at least the past five years. Air pollution is bad in China, so they’re concerned about indoor air quality. Our products are in a lot of office buildings, hotels, hospitals and some airports.”
— Sharon Rinehimer, executive vice president of RGF Environmental Group, a Riviera Beach manufacturer of air purification systems
CANADA — Atlantic Trust, the U.S. wealth management division of Canada’s CIBC Group, expanded to Florida with an office in West Palm Beach. The Atlantabased unit, which was bought by CIBC for $210 million last year, now has 13 U.S. locations.
CUBA — At least five companies have received U. S. licenses to operate ferry services between Florida and Cuba. The companies reportedly are considering offering the services at ports in Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Miami and Tampa. The service requires additional approvals and agreements in both countries.
INDIA — Patriot National, a publicly traded insurance services provider based in Fort Lauderdale, took on a software development center in India as part of a $10-million purchase of Chicago’s Vikaran Solutions.
MOROCCO — Enterprise Florida organized a trip to Morocco to boost exports to the nation of some 33 million people. Organizers noted that Morocco is the only country in Africa with a free trade agreement with the U.S.