Tampa Bay Export Alliance travels to Costa Rica to generate export sales opportunities

April 12, 2016

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – April 12, 2016 –Representatives of the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a cooperative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, have boarded a Copa flight from Tampa International Airport to San José for a joint export sales mission to Costa Rica, taking place today through April 15.

A delegation of forty Tampa Bay business leaders will spend the next several days in the capital city with the goal of developing commercial relationships and increasing trade opportunities with Costa Rica. The Latin American nation is ranked as the sixth largest trading partner for Florida and a heavy consumer market, with goods from the United States making up 40 percent of Costa Rica’s imports.

“Costa Rica is an excellent market for Tampa Bay exporters,” said J.P. DuBuque, Interim CEO and President of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “As a state and as a nation, we already have strong commercial ties with Costa Rica, and their businesses and consumers trust the quality of U.S. produced goods. The CAFTA-DR trade agreement, direct shipping connections from Port Tampa Bay, and close geographic proximity make Costa Rica an attractive market for exports from Tampa Bay.

Fourteen companies – representing diverse sectors such as manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, industrial supplies, engineering, power and distribution and fleet management services – will participate in the Gold Key program of customized meetings with potential buyers arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service.

“We’re very pleased by the response and participation of our regional business exporters to this, our third mission for the Tampa Bay Export Alliance,” shared Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “This alliance is about our local businesses and how we can help them grow sales through exports to new markets, expand their companies and create new high-wage jobs in our communities.”

The agenda will also feature a commercial briefing by the U.S. Embassy, a welcome reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador at the residence of the Deputy Chief of Mission, a networking luncheon with the American Chamber of Commerce and a luncheon hosted by Port Tampa Bay. The port luncheon, titled New Logistical Solutions for Trade with the U.S., will feature speakers from Port Tampa Bay, CSX and several other guests of the port with the goal of marketing Port Tampa Bay as a preferred partner for trade with Costa Rica. Attendees will include over 80 representatives of the import/export, logistics, shipping and produce industries. Also, leaders from Visit St. Pete Clearwater and Visit Tampa Bay will be in attendance; their separate agenda is aimed at increasing leisure and corporate travel to the Tampa Bay area.

“Costa Rica is an important trading partner for Port Tampa Bay, for the movement of containers, refrigerated products such as juice, as well as breakbulk cargo and fertilizer,” said Raul Alfonso, Port Tampa Bay’s Chief Commercial Officer. “This mission will help us deepen our partnerships in Costa Rica to continue to expand exports and trade in support of the Port’s investments in our new cranes and other infrastructure.”

The mission to Costa Rica is the third joint mission for the Tampa Bay Export Alliance since its formation in 2014, and the seventh international business mission for the Tampa Hillsborough EDC. Previous missions to Chile and Canada resulted in export successes for several local companies and further helped to promote Tampa Bay as an ideal business destination for Latin American and Canadian companies wishing to do business in the U.S. Sponsors for the Costa Rica mission include Port Tampa Bay, Tampa International Airport, Visit St. Pete Clearwater, and Visit Tampa Bay. Grants in support of the Gold Key program were provided by Enterprise Florida.

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.

About 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. 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.