Port Everglades welcomed Colombian mayors and delegates this week who visited Broward County to explore business opportunities as the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) enters into effect. Port Everglades kicked off the event by hosting a presentation and tour of its facilities.
“The free-trade agreement between the United States and Colombia was widely celebrated by our business community and opens up terrific opportunities to increase trade between our countries and enhance the competitiveness of both small and large U.S. businesses in Colombia's growing economy,” said Chief Executive & Port Director for Port Everglades Steven Cernak. “Trade-driven globalization has reached an unprecedented scale and has spawned new opportunities that will benefit both our countries and their respective workforces.”
Colombia ranks as the fifth largest trade partner for Port Everglades with containerized volumes totaling 28,270 TEUs (20-Foot Equivalent Units, the standard container measurement) in 2011. Port Everglades is the top seaport in Florida for trade with Colombia, with total trade in 2011 exceeding $1 billion, $730 million in export shipments to Colombia and imports of $304 million. Six shipping lines provide weekly service between Port Everglades and Colombia. The top export commodities through Port Everglades to Colombia include machinery, electrical and electronic products and medical equipment. The top import commodities from Colombia through Port Everglades include ceramic and mosaic tiles, bananas, cement, and auto glass.
On September 9-13, Broward County welcomed Colombian mayors and delegates for the “Colombia Mayors’ Business Mission.” Broward County is reaching out to foreign countries, particularly in Latin America, to increase trade opportunities that will strengthen our economy, create jobs and increase prospects for local businesses. The Colombian delegation, which included business owners, toured Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the Broward Emergency Operations Center, the cities of Weston and Miramar and attended a variety of business panels and meetings, events and receptions planned throughout the County.
“The Broward County Commission is committed to expanding our economic opportunities. Building trade relationships with Colombia is strategic. Colombia is Florida's second largest international trading partner with $9 billion in trade between the two nations last year,” said Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, who initiated the Colombian trade mission with Commission approval. “Broward County has also recently hosted delegations from Italy, Brazil and China. The emphasis is on economic development, creating jobs and opportunity for businesses that are here.”
The CPTA went into effect in May. More than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia became duty free, with the remaining tariffs being phased out over the next 10 years.
In 2011, the number of Colombians visiting Florida rose by 13 percent, which made Colombia fifth in spending by foreign visitors. Residents of Colombian ancestry make up the third largest group of Hispanics in Broward County with a population of 66,500.
As one of South Florida’s leading economic powerhouses, Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations. Already the second busiest cruise port in the world, Port Everglades is also one of the nation’s leading container ports and South Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel and alternative fuels. The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government with operating revenues of approximately $139 million in Fiscal Year 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011). It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The total value of economic activity at Port Everglades is approximately $15.3 billion. More than 160,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including almost 11,400 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades. More information on Port Everglades, which is governed by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, is available on the Internet at www.porteverglades.net