Tampa Bay export group plans trade mission to Dominican Republic

September 13, 2016

Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Export Alliance is leading an export sales mission to the Dominican Republic on December 5-8.
The alliance, a cooperative effort between Pinellas County Economic Development and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., was created to help local businesses grow by increasing international export opportunities.

In announcing the mission Tuesday, the alliance noted that the Dominican Republic is Florida’s fifth largest export market. The U.S. is by far the Dominican Republic’s largest trading partner, accounting for 70 percent of consumer goods imported into the Caribbean island nation.

“Working with our partners at the U.S. Commercial Service, we will offer clients selected to participate in this mission expert counseling on their market entry and expansion strategy and an opportunity to connect with trade partners during personalized, one-on-one matchmaking sessions,” said Brent Barkway, international business development manager at Pinellas County Economic Development.

Top sectors for U.S. exports include air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; automobile parts and services; agricultural products; building products; hotel and restaurant equipment; medical equipment; renewable energy; printing and graphics arts equipment and supplies; safety and security equipment; and telecommunications equipment.

The mission will also include an opportunity to learn more about other Caribbean markets such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti. Companies will receive a regional market assessment in advance and have the opportunity to speak with representatives from these neighboring countries.

Participation in what the alliance calls its “Gold Key” program is limited to 10 companies and determined on a first-come, first-served basis once the companies are approved.

Eligible small- and medium-sized companies can also apply for a Gold Key/Matchmaker Grant from Enterprise Florida, which covers the majority of the package registration fee.