Trade Talk: Diversifying Florida’s trade and economic development

Florida trade and economic development plans.

That’s what the Florida Chamber of Commerce is touting as a way to diversify the state’s trade and economic development initiatives. In October, the Chamber released its Trade and Logistics 2.0 report, an update from 2010.

By the numbers, turning Florida into an international trading hub is a daunting task. The report notes the goal in 2010 of doubling state exports in five years is unlikely to be met, with the current trend line of $70 billion by 2015 far short of the $110 billion goal. Similarly, Florida has also lost 4 percent of the market share of goods moving through the state to Latin America, as other states with large ports in the Gulf of Mexico ramp up creating competition.

The new report targets boosting international trade, improving Florida’s manufacturing sector to increase its exports and increasing the “multiplier” effect from global trade. To achieve that, Florida must invest more dollars in infrastructure, reduce taxes and regulatory burdens on manufacturers and the “logistics” industry—companies involved in making the transfer of goods more efficient—and increase investments in education

Diversifying Florida’s economy and reducing its reliance on tourism, agriculture and growth has long been a goal of the state’s business sector. Apparently, that hasn’t changed.