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Miami: International

Miami Port Cargo from more than 100 countries and 250 ports flows through the Port of Miami. [Photo: iStock]

Miami International
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» Overview - This page
» Impact - Statistics
» Corporate Connections
? ? Who's involved in
? ? Miami-Dade's international
? ? business
» Must-Know Contacts
? ? Meet the players
» Strengths/Weaknesses
Miami-Dade has long laid claim to the title of "Gateway to the Americas," and its geographic proximity and cultural affinity for Latin America and the Caribbean have made it an ideal focal point for international business within the hemisphere. In recent years, the area has also attracted interest from European and Asian companies looking for a base from which to enter U.S., Latin American and Caribbean markets.

Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, the county's largest economic engines, drive the international flow of goods and people to and through the area, and the preponderance of international residents and business expertise has made trade in professional services a growing part of the economy. Law firms, financial services, accounting and healthcare all have significant international components. At the same time, the county faces competition from Atlanta, Houston, Panama City (Panama) and São Paulo (Brazil), each striving to be the center of Latin American business.

More than 1,100 multinational companies oversee more than $221 billion in annual revenue from offices in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, according to WorldCity's "Who's Here" study. More than 75% of those offices are in Miami-Dade.

Miami Airport Miami International Airport is No. 3 in the U.S. for international passengers.
[Photo: Steven Brooke Studios]


Global Headquarters: Some 230 multinational companies have their global headquarters in the tri-county area, and about 170 have their U.S. or Americas headquarters here.

Global Revenue: 28 multinational companies manage revenue of more than $1 billion from their Miami-Dade offices.

Miami Customs District
Top Trading Partners (2008)

Total Trade (billions)
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
Peru 2.5
Argentina 2.4

International Air Freight: In 2008, Miami International Airport ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 10 in the world for tons of international freight, with more than 1.7 million tons — 88% of its total freight volume. Through November 2009, MIA had 1.3 million tons of international freight, down 15% from the same period in 2008.

International Passengers: 16.1 million passengers used MIA on international flights in 2008 (47% of total passengers), making it the No. 3 airport in the U.S. for international passengers and No. 31 in the world. Through November 2009, 14.5 million international passengers came through MIA, down 1.2% from the same period in 2008.

Flights: 53 international and 42 U.S. airlines fly out of MIA.

Seaport: The Port of Miami-Dade services some 250 ports in more than 100 countries.

International Visitors: 5.2 million international visitors came to Miami-Dade from October 2008-September 2009. That represented 48% of the county's total visitors during that time.

International Productions: Last year, an estimated 30% to 40% of the $100 million in local revenue from location filming came from international productions. The No. 1 foreign filmmaker was the United Kingdom.

Miami Customs District: The district, which includes airports and seaports in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, was the No. 11 customs district in the country for international trade for January-November 2009. It was No. 13 in 2008.

Miami Airport - Interior 53 international airlines use MIA.

Imports and Exports: The Miami Customs District's top imports in 2008 were refined petroleum, aircraft, returned exports, sweaters and T-shirts. Its top exports were computers, telephones, computer parts, jet engines and computer chips.

Foreign Trade Zones: 3 — the Miami Free Zone in Doral, with 625,000 square feet of warehouse and 225,000 square feet of showroom/office space; the Homestead Foreign Trade Zone, on 1,000 acres; and FTZ No. 180 in Wynwood

Port of Miami's Top Trading Partners (2008)

  • China
  • Honduras
  • Germany
  • Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala

Foreign-Born Population: 49% of the county's population is foreign born, according to the 2000 Census; the next Census will likely show more than half are.

Consular Corp.: With 72 consuls general, the county is home to the third-largest consular corps in the U.S.

Bi-National Chambers of Commerce: More than 30

Miami International Trade
Jan.-Nov. 2008 (billions)
$76.0 2008 (billions)
Jan.-Nov. 2009 (billions)
$64.4 Total Trade
% Change
-15% Exports
% Change in Total U.S. Trade -27% Imports $35.33

Miami Free Zone The Miami Free Zone in Doral has almost 1 million square feet of space.
[Photo: Steven Brooke Studios]

Corporate Connections

Hundreds of companies are involved in international business in Miami-Dade.

Rosa Sugrañes
Rosa Sugrañes is chairman of Iberia Tiles, which represents factories in Spain, Brazil, China and Turkey, among other countries.?

Here are a few of the largest.

Chemicals: Eastman Chemical

Consulting Services: Neoris

Consumer Products: Electrolux Home Products International

Distribution: All American Containers, Iberia Tiles, Brightstar

Financial Services: Banco Sabadell (owns TransAtlantic Bank and Mellon United, which is now called Sabadell United Bank), TotalBank (owned by Grupo Banco Popular Español of Spain), Royal Bank of Canada, Crédit Agricole, Wells Fargo, Visa, MasterCard, City National Bank (owned by Caja Madrid of Spain), Ocean Bank, Mercantil Commercebank

Don Francisco’s
Don Francisco’s "Sabado Gigante" is filmed at Univision studios in Miami.?[Photo: Brian Smith]
Food and Beverage: Kraft Foods, Danone Americas, Del Monte Fresh Produce

Fuel: World Fuel Services

Healthcare: Baptist Health South Florida, University of Miami Hospital, Jackson Memorial Health System, Mercy Hospital, insurer Bupa

Heavy Equipment: Caterpillar, Komatsu Latin America

Law Firms: Greenberg Traurig; Holland & Knight; Gunster; Hogan & Hartson; Hunton & Williams; Akerman Senterfitt

Media and Entertainment: Editorial Televisa, MTV Networks, Discovery Networks, Venevisión, Caracol, Telemundo, Univisión

Medical: Medtronic, Novartis, Baxter, Cordis

Passenger and Cargo Airlines: American Airlines, LAN Chile, Delta, Arrow Air, US Airways

Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising: Edelman, Porter Novelli, McCann MIA (part of McCann Worldgroup), The Jeffrey Group, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Americas Media Group Worldwide

Retail: Burger King Corp., the Gap

Paulo Camasmie on the company’s first two-wheeler, the Musashi? [Photo: Brook Pifer]

Shipping/Logistics: FedEx, United Parcel Service, Seaboard Marine, Econocaribe, APL (a subsidiary of Neptune Orient Lines), Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Ryder System

Technology: Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Canon, Cisco Systems, Adobe Systems, Apple, Ingram Micro, Oracle Corp., SAP

Telecommunications: Telefónica, AT&T, Tracfone Wireless

Must-Know Contacts

José Abreu
José Abreu
» José Abreu: Miami-Dade Aviation Department director

» Fernando Alonso: His work as head of Hunton & Williams' Latin American practice has included numerous Spanish banking deals in Miami.

» José Astigarraga: One of Chambers USA's four top-ranked arbitration lawyers for Latin American business disputes, he was instrumental in putting Miami on the map as an arbitration capital of the Americas.

  José Astigarraga
José Astigarraga
» Juan Cento: Many see the president of the Latin America and Caribbean division of FedEx Express as the corporate leader of the international community.

» R. Marcelo Claure: CEO of the world's largest mobile telephone phone distributor, Miami-based Brightstar Corp., and co-founder of One Laptop Per Child

» Peter Dolara: American Airlines' senior vice president for Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America

» Pierre Dulin: The Miami-based regional manager for Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior — Bladex — is a key figure in the now-booming trade finance sector.

R. Marcelo Claure
R. Marcelo Claure
» Stephen Flowers: President of UPS Americas, which includes Canada and Latin America. It posted $51.5 billion in revenue in 2008.

» Arthur J. Furia: Head of Gunster's international practice and official Miami counsel for the Italian Consulate and Italian Trade Commission

» Charlotte Gallogly: President of the World Trade Center Miami, the county's world trade advocate; the organization also puts on the Air Cargo Americas, Seacargo Americas and Americas Food & Beverage trade shows.

Charlotte Gallogly
Charlotte Gallogly

» Bill Johnson: Director of the Port of Miami

Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson
» Manny Mencia: The Enterprise Florida senior vice president of international business development is based in Miami.

» Fernando Pérez-Hickman: Head of U.S. operations for Banco Sabadell

» Jose Perez-Jones: The senior vice president of Seaboard Marine, which carries more than 40% of the cargo through the Port of Miami, leads high-level trade missions and works to expand the area's ties with the Caribbean and Latin America.

» Pete Pizarro: Now CEO of IT and communications company eLandia International, he spent many years as CEO of Telefónica USA.

Olga Ramudo
Olga Ramudo [Photo: Daniel Portnoy]
» Olga Ramudo: President of Express Travel of Miami, she handles much of the corporate international travel in Miami.

» Carolina Rendeiro: The CEO of Right Space Management manages business centers where many of the area's multinationals have their offices; she also chairs the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's International Business Development Group.

» John Rodriguez: Wells Fargo's senior vice president and area head for the Americas/Iberia/Caribbean and president of the Florida International Bankers Association

» Mario Sacasa: The Beacon Council's head of international economic development was recently named president of the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce.

» Lee Sandler: One of the founders of international trade and customs law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, he is a trusted trade and trade finance adviser.

» Beth Sobol: She runs Miami International Fashion Week, the largest international fashion week in the U.S., and travels the globe looking for designers to invite to the show. Designers will come from around the world, including Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

» Eduardo Solórzano: Just named CEO of Walmart Latin America in December, the former CEO of Walmart de Mexico also runs the regional operations for the world's largest retailer.

» Rosa Sugrañes: A Spanish immigrant who founded the U.S. branch of the family tile business, the Iberia Tiles chairman maintains strong trade ties with Spain and helps cement trade relationships.


Strengths: Proximity and cultural affinity for Latin America and the Caribbean; airport and seaport well-equipped to handle international trade and passengers; preponderance of international flights, including many connecting cities within Latin America; Spanish-speaking population; established base of professional services firms familiar with Latin America; multicultural environment; respected judicial system and lower legal costs than other major international cities.

Art Basel in Miami Art Basel Miami attracted 42,000 people last year. [Photo: Bill Wisser]

Weaknesses (Miami-specific): Better-funded, more organized competitors in the U.S. — particularly Atlanta and Houston; few speakers of Asian languages; architects, real estate firms, interior designers, marketing companies and advertising agencies have drastically downsized or closed; banks are reluctant to do international private banking or trade financing because it's perceived as risky; little room for airport or seaport to expand; difficult transit between airport and seaport.

Weaknesses (U.S.): Increasingly difficult for foreign nationals to deal with customs, immigration and Homeland Security; federal taxes on international investors; compliance regulations have made international financial services very costly.

Flavor of Trade

Silvia Cubina
Silvia Cubina
Miami-Dade has long been a hub for Latin American art, and Art Basel Miami Beach has only expanded its prominence in the international contemporary art world. That has given museum directors excellent connections and the chance to bring some unusual collections to the area. For instance, last December, the Bass Museum opened the first U.S. showing of pieces from Mexico's "La Collección Jumex" — the collection of Jumex juice heir Eugenio Lopez Alonso. Bass Executive Director Silvia Cubina, who had longstanding relationships with Lopez Alonso and the collection's curator, approached them as soon as she started at the museum in 2008. They like the idea of putting the collection in front of the many art collectors, artists and arts professionals from around the world who come to Miami throughout the year.