Global Tampa Bay trade mission to Mexico yields $35 Million in projected economic activity for local companies

May 14, 2018

Pictured from left to right: Craig J. Richard, President & CEO, Tampa Hillsborough EDC; Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, Undersecretary for North America, Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico; Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey; City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray; Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth T. Welch; Bill Cronin, President & CEO, Pasco EDC

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – (May 14, 2018) – Global Tampa Bay, previously known as the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a cooperative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Pinellas County Economic Development and the Pasco Economic Development Council (EDC), today announced that the companies that participated in April’s trade mission to Mexico City, Mexico have projected future sales and economic activity of approximately $35.3 million as a result of the trip.

“This mission generated the largest projected sales figures of any export mission we’ve done so far as a region,” said Craig J. Richard, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC. “There are tremendous opportunities in the Mexican market for Tampa Bay companies right now, and we’re delighted that this trip delivered such outstanding results for them.”

Forty-one business leaders and elected officials from the Tampa Bay region traveled to Mexico from April 10-13, 2018 to participate in the export sales mission to the neighboring nation to the south. It was the first official mission conducted as Global Tampa Bay – the new name for the initiative formerly known as the Tampa Bay Export Alliance – established by the three economic development organizations to provide area companies with opportunities to increase their international footprint.

“The trade mission to Mexico City allowed our Tampa Bay companies to expedite their entry or expansion into the Mexican market,” said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “The organization of the events, and particularly the Gold Key appointments, ensured that participating businesses wasted no time in making key connections designed to increase exports and sales within this market.”

Fifteen local companies participated in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key Service (GKS) Matchmaker program, which provided customized one-on-one meetings with companies in Mexico. These Gold Key companies conducted approximately 80 meetings with potential customers that resulted in the actual and expected export sales.

“This mission was first class from start to finish,” said Michael Ferris, CEO of Tampa cybersecurity firm Abacode. “The quality of the prospect companies we met with and the program of receptions and events was remarkable. We came away with excellent leads and important new relationships that will help us make significant inroads in the Mexican market.”

“These missions are important to help our locally-owned companies find additional markets for their goods and services,” said Bill Cronin, President and CEO of Pasco EDC. “The additional sales revenues not only create jobs, but also strengthen our international business ecosystem and our trade connections.  Mexico continues to be a great trading partner and neighbor to Florida.”

The delegates, led by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Pinellas County Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch and Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, attended a country commercial briefing by the U.S. Embassy and a welcome reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador. In addition to these events and the one-on-one Gold Key meetings, other activities included a luncheon hosted by COMCE (the local chamber of commerce) and AMCHAM Mexico with more than 100 Mexican business leaders, including the CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, Mexico.
“It was an honor to join Mayor Buckhorn and Commissioner Welch on the Global Tampa Bay mission to Mexico City,” said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, Pasco County Board of County Commissioners. “Mexico accounts for a third of the region’s total goods exported and consistently ranks as our top exporting market. This mission gave businesses throughout Tampa Bay the opportunity to strengthen their existing marketing efforts and create international relationships that will further develop and support the growth of businesses throughout the area.”

“Mexico holds great opportunities for Pinellas County businesses, and we were pleased to have four companies from the county join this Global Tampa Bay mission,” shared Commissioner Kenneth T. Welch, Chairman of the 2018 Pinellas Board of County Commissioners. “The continuing interest and participation from Pinellas confirms that the mission of increasing exports is valuable to our local community and economy.”

Mayor Buckhorn and Commissioners Welch and Starkey also met with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray Caso. Mayor Buckhorn signed a Sister City reaffirmation with the Mayor of Veracruz and discussed ways to strengthen the important trade ties that exist between their two port cities.
“Tampa greatly values its relationship with our Sister City in Veracruz and with the people of Mexico,” said Mayor Buckhorn. “It was an honor to reaffirm our agreement and to meet with Secretary Videgaray to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for our region and Mexico. We are thankful to Mexican Consul Juan Jose Sabines Guerrero for arranging this valuable meeting with him.”

The export sales mission to Mexico was generously sponsored by Tampa International AirportPort Tampa Bay, Enterprise Florida, Greenberg Traurig, and Shumaker Loop. These organizations also sent delegates who participated in the mission’s trade agenda.

“Mexico is a huge market for Port Tampa Bay,” said Wade Elliott, vice president of marketing and business development for Port Tampa Bay. “It’s already our second largest trading partner and impacts almost all our lines of business. We had some excellent meetings during this trade mission and believe we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on opportunities there. Mexico is a rapidly growing container market for us, and we have two direct weekly services from Port Tampa Bay and our new refrigerated warehouse shipping there. Tampa Bay exporters and importers have access to excellent shipping connections to Mexico right from their doorstep.”

About Global Tampa Bay
Global Tampa Bay is a cooperative effort between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Pinellas County Economic Development and the Pasco Economic Development Council, established to help existing Tampa Bay companies to expand their sales in international markets and to assist foreign companies interested in establishing operations in the Tampa Bay region. Global Tampa Bay conducts joint export activities, such as seminars, trade events and trade missions, and supports the export-related growth initiatives of regional economic partners, including Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.