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The Florida Economy "A Regional Analysis and Outlook"
 On August 27th, 2014, Antonio Villamil -President of the Washington Economics Group (WEG)- presented an analysis on Florida's economy to the Taiwanese community at the Intercontinental Hotel in Doral, FL. The presentation highlighted the importance of Florida as a key player in the current global economy. 

Special thanks for organizing this event to the City of Doral, the Taiwan Business Association (TBA) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami (TECO).
Taiwan Trade Center Miami
 The Florida Economy:

“A Regional Analysis and Outlook”

Florida is the fourth largest economy in the United States and the third largest state in size with a current GDP of US$750 billion and a population of 20 million people, featuring one of the most stable economies in the country. Its economy boom started in the 20th century because of tourism, international banking, biomedical, science and healthcare research; and also because it is one of the main exporters of trade goods in the nation. The major contributors to the state's gross are general services, financial services, trade, transportation, public utilities, manufacturing and construction respectively.

South Florida’s GDP has been recorded as the highest in Florida with US$274 billion and a population of 5.8 million people -according to renown economist Antonio (Tony) Villamil from the Washington Economics Group (WEG)-, followed by US$120 billion in Central-West Florida (Tampa area). The industries in the state vary depending on the region; for instance, there are some specific assets that explain South Florida’s substantial wealth. Two great economic engines are located in Miami Dade County: the Miami International Airport (MIA) and the Port of Miami (PortMiami).

The MIA was recently awarded as the “2013-2014 Airport of the year” by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), because of its “facility’s steadfast commitment to engaging the highest safety standards for passengers, crews, and cargo”. MIA has passenger and cargo flights to cities throughout the Americas, Europe and Western Asia, which is why it is considered one of Florida’s greatest means for trade. On the other hand, PortMiami gives Miami two renowned worldwide titles: ‘Cargo Getaway of the Americas’ and ‘Cruise Capital of the World’.  It is the 11th largest cargo container port in the United States of America and the largest cruise ship port and the headquarters for numerous worlds’ largest cruise companies. Another key element to South Florida’s successful economy is the large concentration of international banks, investment and financial sectors in the Brickell Financial District which makes it the primary financial district in South Florida.

As Dr. Villamil mentioned in his presentation to the Taiwanese community in Miami this past August 27th, 2014; most of the industries in Florida have an exportable opportunity to grow in global markets. That is why it is beneficial for foreign strong markets such as Taiwan to establish trade connections and businesses there. Miami’s role in Florida is vital since it is considered as the “Getaway to the Americas”. Latin American markets show a mixed economic performance; therefore, the better the business megatrends are followed, the greater the businesses opportunities are. Dr. Villamil advices that, “positioning your company’s products and services within the trends will determine the success of your business with the Region”. Market opportunities for South Florida Businesses are significant in economies with Trans Pacific Alliances (TPA’s) with the United States.  

Dr. Villamil’s study proofs that both Florida and Latin America offer targeted business opportunities for Taiwan companies based in the state, in the sense that the Americas have grown in size and in the sophistication of production across products and services, improving creditworthiness, which is positive for South Florida-based business. Therefore there is an emphasis on knowledge-intensive products and services in meeting demand for growing populations. Integration of production function suggests potential business profitability can be found along supply chain across borders of North/South America and the Caribbean.

Modern entrepreneurs have focused their businesses interest in “Multi-Latinas” (as a Foreign Direct Investment strategy). Multi-Latinas are Latin American corporations that have grown outside their (“poor”) geographical origin holding minimum average revenues of US$500M. They have gained global positioning in the past recent years in spite of their hometown economic or political limitations. This is why Miami is considered as a strategic business location, since one can conduct direct businesses and trade with Latin America from American soil.

Even though Miami could be challenged by other possible future emerging getaways in the Latin American region; they still would not be as strong as South Florida because of its stability, connections and history. It is also beneficial for Latin Americans to keep bringing their businesses to Miami because that is where they become international and are able to engage into foreign trade. Conducting business with Taiwan right now would be the smart thing to do, since this great nation is a role model for economic development and economic success. Moreover, South American countries such as Peru and Chile have close ties with the Asia-Pacific region through organizations such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which put these countries in a strategic position to conduct trade.

By Marisela Stephanie De La Cruz

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