September 15, 2019

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/22/2019

Tomato truce: U.S. and Mexico strike a deal on imports

Mexico supplies more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the U.S., and imports have more than doubled since 2002. Florida growers, who used to dominate the market for tomatoes in the winter and spring, have long complained that Mexico unfairly subsidizes its tomato crop. In May, the Trump administration slapped a 17.5% tariff on imported tomatoes and resumed an investigation into whether Mexico is “dumping” the fruit at artificially low prices. The new agreement, if finalized next month, will suspend that investigation and lift the tariffs. More from WAMU, Growing Produce, and the Wall Street Journal.

See also:
» Florida tomato growers applaud the new suspension agreement

Chances of a Florida recession are on the rise, chamber economist says

The probability that Florida’s $1 trillion economy will lapse into recession has risen substantially since the spring, the chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation said Wednesday. In April, foundation economist Jerry Parrish put the chances of a Florida recession within nine months at a little under 21 percent. Now he sees a 34.2 percent probability. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Tourism to Cuba plunges after tightening of travel ban

Tourist arrivals to Cuba plunged 23.6% on the year in July, official data showed on Wednesday, confirming the blow dealt to the sector by the Trump administration's tightening of U.S. restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island. Data from the Statistics Office had already shown a 20% drop in arrivals in June, after Washington that same month banned cruises to Cuba and made it harder for U.S. citizens to get an exemption from the ban on travel there. [Source: Reuters]

A Miami entrepreneur’s hospital empire collapsed - and left towns in the wreckage

At the height of its operation, Miami-based management company EmpowerHMS helped oversee a rural empire encompassing 18 hospitals across eight states. Now, with funding dried up, 12 of the hospitals have entered bankruptcy and eight have closed their doors. The staggering collapse left hundreds of employees without jobs and many more owed months of back pay. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida agritourism introduces visitors to homegrown attractions

Florida may be known for its theme parks and beaches, but agritourism gives visitors a chance to explore an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Agritourism combines Florida’s two biggest industries and casts a wide net of activities that include things like u-pick berry farms, bucolic wedding venues, family-owned wineries and corn mazes. “It’s basically anytime a farmer opens up his property to the public for some kind of entertainment, educational, or other on-farm or ranch experience,” says Lena Juarez, executive director of the Florida Agritourism Association (FATA). [Source: Central Florida Ag News]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Wynwood is getting yet another co-living apartment building
Another co-living apartment building is coming to the booming Wynwood district. Developer Property Markets Group (PMG) and the Toronto-based Greybrook Realty Partners investment firm paid $46 million for a 1.6 acre parcel of land at 2431 NW Second Avenue in Miami. The sale closed Tuesday. Avison Young’s Florida Capital Markets Group negotiated the sale.

› Tampa Bay area tech firm bolsters executive team with e-commerce veteran
Fintech, a Tampa-based business solutions provider for the beverage alcohol industry, has named Dan Gaertner chief technology officer. According to a press release Gaertner boasts 20 years of leadership experience in technology and product software. At Fintech, he will be involved in product acquisitions, organizational strategy and technology growth.

› Central Florida International Auto Show moves from Thanksgiving weekend to September
The automobile show that has brought hundreds of cars and thousands of people to the Orange County Convention Center during Thanksgiving weekend for much of the past 35 years is moving to September. The Central Florida International Auto Show, billed as the largest auto show in Florida, will take place from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22 and will showcase more than 400 new vehicles.

› China trade spat spurs rush of Miami-Dade courthouse construction
Miami-Dade’s efforts to build a new civil and probate courthouse must speed up or at least remain on track to avoid a potential fiscal quagmire due to souring trade relations with China, Commissioner Sally Heyman says. Ms. Heyman, the main county legislator behind the Flagler Street courthouse project, said Friday that things are running ahead of schedule, with negotiations progressing well with the three finalist development teams.

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