Global Tampa Bay business leaders and five Tampa Bay companies returned from a four-day trade mission to the Dominican Republic, according to a Friday news release.
The Caribbean nation is Florida's fourth leading destination for merchandising exports behind Brazil, Colombia and Chile.
More than 50 one-on-one matchmaking meetings occurred between Tampa Bay and Dominican Republic businesses throughout the trip, business officials say. It resulted in merchandise and service sales in excess of $15.79 million, which are expected to occur over the next 12 months.
"You know it is a successful mission when businesses report concrete sales and new contracts, immediately following an international trade mission,” says Bill Cronin, chairman of Global Tampa Bay and CEO of Pasco County Economic Development Council. "Assisting both new and experienced exporters fortifies resilient companies who sustain our regional economy."
Trade missions are export programs for Tampa Bay-based companies that want to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential clients in foreign markets, according to Global Tampa Bay.
The group coordinated the trade mission for Tampa Bay businesses, Port Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport.
During the mission, business participants averaged nine meetings each, with potential clients located in the Dominican Republic, and arranged through the U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key program. Export-ready U.S. companies seeking to export goods or services of U.S. origin or that have at least 51% U.S. content can utilize the service. The Tampa Bay or U.S. businesses are matched with prospects in a foreign market and are provided with appropriate meeting space and translators, if required, according to Global Tampa Bay.
"A key component to the success of this trade mission is the U.S. Commercial Service team who worked with Global Tampa Bay to facilitate excellent logistics and business connections,” says Cynthia Johnson, MEDP, Global Tampa Bay board member and Director of Economic Development for Pinellas County. "I want to thank Isiah Parnell, Charge’ d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo, for hosting Global Tampa Bay and supporting our international business development goals."
Global Tampa Bay says it also supports missions to recruit international companies seeking a prime business location in the United States. In the coming months, the organization will hold foreign direct investment missions to Medica in Germany, one of the largest medical business-to-business trade fairs in the world.
Global Tampa Bay will also go to the United Kingdom.
"The Tampa Bay region has seen a tremendous increase in interest from international companies looking to expand to our area, and we're able to leverage Florida’s global business strengths to set our region apart as a leader in both export trade and foreign direct investment," says Craig Richard, incoming chairman of Global Tampa Bay and the current CEO of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council.