Tampa Bay Export Alliance to explore export opportunities in Canada

October 13, 2015

Mayors from cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, county commissioners, and business executives will travel to Toronto to convene with prospective Canadian customers, corporate leaders and government officials
Leaders of the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a cooperative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, will be flying to Toronto for their second joint trade mission, taking place October 19-22.
City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, and Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice are leading the delegation of approximately 70 Tampa Bay business leaders with the goal of developing commercial relationships and increasing exports to Canada.
“Canada is one of the most important strategic markets for Tampa Bay,” said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “It is the number one export destination for our region’s goods and services and our third largest source of foreign direct investment. The opportunities for local companies to expand their North American footprint and find a receptive market for their goods and services in Canada are significant.”
The group will spend two full days in Toronto to promote international business, tourism, and film and digital media industry opportunities between Canada and the Tampa Bay region. The agenda will include a Gold Key program (customized one-on-one meetings arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service) as well as film and digital media and other industry site visits, informational briefings, investment meetings, and business roundtables. Delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in several networking events and a reception hosted by the U.S. Consul General.
“The primary goal of the Tampa Bay Export Alliance is to help Tampa Bay’s manufacturers and service providers to grow sales abroad and increase profits,” said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development.  “The local companies joining us for this Canadian trade mission will have meetings tailored to their products and services that are designed to get them to the next step as they explore and expand into this market.”
Leaders from the Film Tampa Bay, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Tampa International Airport, and Visit Tampa Bay will be participating in the mission as well.
Canada is the number one export market for Tampa Bay goods and services and one of our region’s most strategic partners for trade, investment, and tourism. The Tampa Bay metro area currently trades almost $2 billion with Canada annually and Canadian companies including TD Bank, Masonite, CAE, and Air Canada employ over 2,200 residents in the region.
“One of Tampa Bay’s great strengths is the diversity of its businesses, with mission participants representing a cross-section of industries: medical devices, information technology, travel and tourism, aerospace, financial services, healthcare, 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 and its integrated supply chain, the co-production of new, leading technologies, and positive flow of people, talent, and ideas.”
About The Tampa Bay Export Alliance
The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA) is a cooperative effort between Pinellas County Economic Development and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, formed in 2014 to grow jobs and capital investment by increasing the international export of products and services within the bi-county area.  The TBEA 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.
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace. A public-private partnership, the EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention, and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment within targeted industry sectors. Working with C-level executives, site selection consultants, commercial real estate professionals and other influential decision makers, the EDC provides customized, confidential relocation services to domestic and international companies interested in growing within Hillsborough County.  Locally, the EDC helps existing businesses access the tools and resources they need to succeed, now and in the future.
About Pinellas County Economic Development
Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) works with existing businesses to encourage expansion and seeks to attract new companies with high-wage careers to our community. Through investment tools, business classes, professional consulting services, trade missions to open new markets, and strategic partnerships, PCED fosters a pro-business environment and promotes the Ideal Business Climate of Pinellas County, Florida.