Trinidad-Tobago Trade Mission to Help Expand Florida Jobs Nearly 30 Florida companies seek to expand trade with Trinidad-Tobago

Beginning tomorrow, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll will lead a delegation of 27 Florida companies from 23 industries in a trade mission to Trinidad-Tobago, with the primary goal of expanding trade between Florida and Trinidad-Tobago.

Trinidad relies heavily on Florida exports and is Florida’s largest trade partner in the English-speaking Caribbean. Florida companies participating in the trade mission will work to gain export opportunities to this vital niche market.

“As the first Trinidadian-American elected to statewide office, I am especially honored to return as Trinidad celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence,” Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll said. “However, I am most pleased to return to the country of my birth in my official capacity as Florida’s Lieutenant Governor with the sole purpose of strengthening our shared economic interests.”

Because of Florida’s location and diverse population, it has one of the most internationally driven economies in the United States. The Caribbean Basin is very important to the state’s international trade sector, yet Florida’s last trade mission to Trinidad-Tobago was approximately 12 years ago. “For this reason, we felt it was time to re-engage one-to-one with business leaders from Trinidad and Tobago and expose a new crop of up-and-coming Florida companies to trade opportunities there,” said Manny Mencía, senior vice president of International Trade & Development for Enterprise Florida Inc., which is coordinating the mission. “Having our Lieutenant Governor lead the mission tremendously increases the prospect of actual and potential sales results.”

Florida and Trinidad-Tobago share significant cultural and business ties. Based on 2010 Census information, an estimated 40,000 people from Trinidad-Tobago live in Florida. In 2011, Florida received 75,000 visitors from the island nation who spent $125 million in-state, up four percent and six percent, respectively, from the previous year. At No. 23, Trinidad-Tobago is one of Florida’s top trade partners globally, and No. 1 among English-speaking Caribbean countries. In 2011, bilateral trade between Florida and Trinidad and Tobago totaled $1.9 billion, a 24.1 percent increase in bilateral trade over the previous year.

In addition to strengthening business ties between Florida and Trinidad-Tobago, Lt. Governor Carroll will participate in the United States Embassy Speaker Program. In recognition of Trinidad-Tobago’s 50th Anniversary of independence, her speaking engagements will focus on American democracy and the role states have in U.S. elections. Her agenda also includes addressing university and high school students, and meeting with Embassy officers and Trinidad-Tobago’s Elections and Boundaries Commission.

Florida International Business Highlights
• International trade was one of Florida’s strongest sectors in 2011, with an economic impact of $64.8 billion.
• In fact, Florida is the fourth-largest export state in the U.S. – after Texas, California, and New York.
• International business, including both trade in goods and services as well as foreign direct investment, accounts for about one-sixth (18 percent) of Florida’s economy.
• Approximately 1.3 million jobs in Florida depend on international business, with 1.1 million linked to international trade and another 236,000 related to employment by foreign-owned firms.



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