International trade is one of your Chamber’s strategic mega
issues. We know increasing exports will
lead to revenues and jobs, and that is why we decided to make foreign trade a focal
point for the next several years and tapped Port Everglades Director Phil Allen
to lead the mission.
Increasing exports is critical to our nation’s economy and
is a driving economic indicator for us in greater Fort Lauderdale. There are thousands of companies that need to
be brought into the exporting business.
Only one percent of American companies are currently exporting, according
to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
On the federal level, the Obama administration created Global Access to double U.S. exports by
2015. The Export-Import Bank—which
provides loan guarantees to American companies selling their goods abroad—plans
to double its transaction volume with small businesses from $4.5 billion to $9
billion over the next five years. In
all, the bank is looking to conduct $30 billion worth of transactions with
small businesses and grow 5,000 new small business customers by 2015 (visit www.exim.gov/smallbusiness).
On the state level, we will be pushing for funding to deepen
our port making ready for mega ships coming from the Panama Canal. Governor Rick Scott, Phil Allen and other
business leaders will be in Panama this month discussing our future.
Tomorrow, we will participate when Broward College President
David Armstrong hosts the Honorable Director-General Wang and his delegation from
Qingdao, China, a major seaport, naval base and industrial center. Later this week, we will honor Mayor Adolf
Sauerland and his delegation from Duisburg, Germany. The City of Fort Lauderdale will hold an
official Twinning Celebration through our Sister City program at the Hilton
Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort this Friday evening.
We are committed to growing international trade to position
Greater Fort Lauderdale and Port Everglades with a global presence, competing
with the top ports throughout the world.
Please join us as we develop relationships and systems to
attain this vision.