|Latin American Trade Agreements Are Key to Florida’s Economic Future
This week we learned that since I became Governor in January, Florida has added 85,500 new jobs. In fact, Florida continues to buck the national trend in unemployment, maintaining a steady rate in June, even while the national rate continued to climb. My goal is to make sure every Floridian has the opportunity to get a job. While we know we will not achieve this goal overnight, the steps we are taking to lower taxes, streamline government, and eliminate burdensome regulation is leading Florida in the right direction.
Another key to Florida’s future economic success is international trade. As Governor, I am working every day to ensure that Florida is the number one place to start, grow or move a business. Ratification of free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, along with the anticipated expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014, gives Florida a unique opportunity to become a major hub for international trade for South and Central America and the southeastern United States.
These free trade agreements are key to immediate job creation in Florida. Combined with the improvements we are making to Florida’s ports, they will result in an immediate economic boost for Florida. Ratified trade agreements will increase Florida exports by at least $523 million and create 6,400 jobs. In fact, Florida stands to benefit more than any other state from these agreements.
Both Panama and Colombia have worked to open their economies to the outside world, and the work has paid off: Colombia’s GDP has grown five percent in recent years, and Panama’s is expected to grow by four percent this year. Nearly half of all U.S. made high-tech goods exported to Colombia come from Florida.
With increased trade, lower taxes and the elimination of burdensome regulation, Florida is well on the way to becoming the number-one state for business. To learn more, I invite you to read my recent Op-Ed published in the Miami Herald last Sunday.