Wide Open to the World
Florida boasts just the right combination of assets to facilitate global trade: a multimodal infrastructure, a multilingual workforce, an impressive array of corporate and financial resources and a strategic geographic location that is second to none. With 1,350 miles of coastline supporting 15 deep-water ports, Florida’s connection to global trade easily stretches from Asia to the Americas and across the Atlantic.
Not surprisingly, Florida’s total merchandise trade dropped significantly in 2020 due to the global pandemic, but not for long. Adding back $29 billion the following year, Florida ended 2021 with $164 billion in two-way trade, its highest level ever.
Merchandise exports grew 25.7% in 2021, more than making up for the previous year’s 17.6% loss, while merchandise imports regained 18.2%. At the same time, Florida-origin exports regained 21.3%, recouping nearly $10 billion in losses and, as a result, Florida ended its year as the 7th largest export state in the U.S.
Florida is home to more than 58,000 exporting companies — second only to California — and hosts the nation’s second largest Foreign Trade Zone network with 21 facilities statewide. Among the top merchandise commodities traded through Florida ports are motor cars; civilian aircraft; engines and parts; and electrical apparatus for line telephony.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
With its easy access to markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, a $1 trillion GDP and a population of 21.8 million, it should come as no surprise that Florida remains a national leader in attracting international companies representing a wide variety of industries and bringing capital, expertise, technology and innovation to the Sunshine State. Florida ranks 1st in the Southeast and 4th among all U.S. states in employment by majority foreign-owned firms, and its most populated city — Miami — is a leading U.S. center for international banking; both foreign and domestic financial institutions are eager to establish their presence here.
And further facilitating FDI, are Florida’s EB-5 Regional Centers that offer foreigners the opportunity to obtain permanent U.S. residency while investing in Florida.
Statewide, Florida’s population is both multi-ethnic and multi-lingual. Slightly more than a fifth of the state’s population is foreign-born, and 29.4% of households speak a language other than English at home.
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