Florida provides a route to Latin Ameria and Caribbean expansion

Fort Lauderdale serves as jumping off point

Lucrative markets beckon U.S. companies

Photo captions: PHOTO CUTLINE #1

The City of Fort Lauderdale's economy has grown into a sophisticated mix of multinational companies capitalizing on the community's proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Photo credit to Mindy Duncan.

PHOTO CUTLINE #2

Fort Lauderdale is served by the City-owned and operated Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Photo credit to Mindy Duncan.

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Port Everglades moves more than 4 million tons of containerized cargo a year through its two primary container terminals at Midport and Southport. Photo credit J.E. Clark.

By Kathleen Dough

Trade between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean climbed 50 percent during the first half of the 1990's. The unprecedented growth shows no signs of slowing down. Lucrative markets in South America, Central America and the Caribbean continue to devour U.S.-made commodities to the tune of almost $50 billion per year and Florida has emerged as the leader in U.S. trade with the region, maintaining close to a 50% market share across all segments. No where is Florida's trend toward an international marketplace more evident than in Fort Lauderdale, where an economy once primarily based in agriculture and tourism has grown into a sophisticated mix of multinational companies and activities.

South Florida exports to Latin America and the Caribbean continues to experience double-digit growth, reaching an estimated $42 billion in 1996. Trade volume for imports and exports with South Florida's top five trading partners, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Argentina, now exceeds $7.1 billion.

"Today's business leaders consider South America, Latin America and the Caribbean as some of world's premier emerging marketplaces," said Scott Adams, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Fort Lauderdale. "As their economies continue to develop, the demand is moving from low-tech to high-tech, and from raw materials to finished goods. Fort Lauderdale provides easy access to these markets and, as companies realize this, they will continue to locate regional operations here."

Among the companies capitalizing on Fort Lauderdale's proximity to South America is Dana Corporation, one of the world's largest independent suppliers of vehicular components to vehicular, off-highway and industrial markets with $7.7 billion in sales during 1996. Headquartered in Toledo, OH, the auto parts giant chose a downtown Fort Lauderdale location as the control center for its South American operations which employ approximately 9,000 people in 40 facilities from Argentina to Venezuela.

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