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Business Observer Friday, May 18, 2018 2 years ago

Don't mess with success (aka Florida's global trade sector)

National organization lauds the state's output in imports and exports

Global trade continues to provide a strong foundation for Florida’s economy, according to a new report from Business Roundtable.

For starters, businesses in the Sunshine State sold $11.7 billion in goods and services to Mexico and Canada in 2016. While that figure is down slightly from 2015 and a statewide peak in 2013, it’s up significantly over the last decade: an increase of 31% in services, 17% in goods since 2006, the report shows.  

Then there are the jobs. International trade supports 108,200 — nearly 1 in 5 — Florida jobs, the report found. In addition, exports and imports between Florida and Mexico and Canada, partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), support 683,100 Florida jobs. On a national scale, global trade supports 36 million jobs, with 11 million U.S. jobs supported by trade with Canada and Mexico, the report shows. Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC prepared the report for Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies that promotes sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.

All this data, states Business Roundtable officials, shows that messing with NAFTA might not produce all the results some in the Trump Administration believe will be there. “For more than two decades, NAFTA has supported jobs and the economy in Florida,” Business Roundtable officials say in the report. “Successful negotiations to update NAFTA should expand on, not diminish, the many benefits this U.S. trade agreement has already created.”

Other data points from the survey include:

• Global trade facilitated $50.4 billion in Florida goods and $42.6 billion in Florida services exports in 2016, when Florida companies reached customers in 231 countries and territories;

• Global trade also resulted in 57% of Florida imports from NAFTA partners in 2016 containing inputs from U.S. producers by promoting integrated supply chains.

In a separate report, Tom Linebarger, chairman of the Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee, says maintaining NAFTA is “imperative” to access the 95% of the world’s consumers who reside outside the United States.

“I firmly believe expanding U.S. trade opportunities and modernizing NAFTA are good policy and would strongly support U.S. economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness,” Linebarger writes. “I also believe that withdrawing from or weakening NAFTA and restricting U.S. trade opportunities with countries like Canada and Mexico would cost the United States millions of jobs and significantly damage our competitiveness.”


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