Tampa Bay Export Alliance delegation developing opportunities with our neighbors to the north

October 23, 2015

This week, 70 business leaders and government leaders from both sides of the bay traveled to Toronto, Canada week for the Tampa Bay Export Alliance’s second trade mission.  The Alliance, a cooperative effort between the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and Pinellas County Economic Development, was formed to increase export activity and develop international business between Tampa Bay and countries in Europe and Latin America, as well strengthen ties with Canada, our region’s number one export market.
The goal of the mission was to develop commercial relationships with companies in Toronto and to increase local exports there.
In addition to being the top export destination for Tampa Bay’s goods and services, Canada is our third largest source of foreign direct investment. Our metro area currently trades nearly $2 billion ever year with Canada, and companies like TD Bank, Masonite, CAE, and Air Canada employ more than 2,000 local residents.
“One of Tampa Bay’s great strengths is the diversity of its business, with mission participants representing a cross-section of industries: medical devices, information technology, travel and tourism, aerospace, financial services, health care, manufacturing, filmmaking, and more,” said Bruce A. Heyman, U.S. Ambassador to Canada. “As such, these firms are well-positioned to take advantage of the U.S.-Canada trade and investment relationship.”
Filmmaking and the film industry has played an important role in this trade mission, with Film Tampa Bay’s Dale Gordon making the trip to Toronto, home to an international film festival and a popular filming location. Those on the film track for the mission will have the opportunity to tour local studios and to attend a cocktail reception at the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
The two-day schedule included lunch at the Hockey Hall of Fame with a keynote by Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a welcome reception hosted by the U.S. Consul General Juan Alsace, and several networking events and company visits, in addition to one-on-one appoints for the Gold Key track delegates.