Tampa Mayor Leads Trade Mission To Colombia

November 30, 2012

Business leaders travel to Barranquilla to expand trade relationships and attract investment opportunities

TAMPA, Fla. / Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will lead more than 30 business and community representatives on a trade mission to Barranquilla, Colombia on December 5-8, to promote international economic development for the Tampa Bay region.  Organized by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Tampa Barranquilla Sister Cities, the mission is a key component in efforts to expand global trade relationships, while attracting job-creating foreign direct investment to Hillsborough County.

“The trip to Colombia is an opportunity to tell our story and make the case to businesses abroad that Tampa is the best place to live, work, and play.  I will market what we have to offer – Florida’s largest port, a world-class airport, and incredible economic potential,” said Mayor Buckhorn.

Colombia is the fifth largest economy in Latin America, with a population of approximately 45 million.  During the last decade, improvements in security and political stability have fostered economic growth and a secure business climate.  The US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which became effective on May 15, 2012, is expected to generate new export opportunities for businesses seeking benefits from the reduction of export tariffs.

To leverage this new development, the Barranquilla mission will include networking events designed to connect participating companies with Colombian trade partners through one-on-one business matchmaking sessions.  Trade facilitation services will be provided by the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombia-Barranquilla (AMCHAM) and the Mayor’s Office of Barranquilla, along with the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy in Bogotá.

“This mission allows us to develop collaborative relationships with top-level Colombian corporate and government leaders, while marketing our unique ability to serve their business needs,” said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC.

The Tampa Hillsborough EDC recently announced an increased focus on international business development, creating a department dedicated to export promotion and the expansion of foreign direct investment opportunities. Veteran trade specialist, Lorrie Belovich, was hired to oversee the program in October, and played a significant role in the coordination of the Barranquilla event.

The Barranquilla trip complements a companion mission to Bogotá, Colombia on December 2-5.  This event will be led by Governor Rick Scott and organized by the state economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, Inc., and attended by Mayor Buckhorn and Tampa Hillsborough EDC representatives.


About the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation:
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (tampabayedc.com) is the lead economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.  Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC drives job creation and capital investment through the recruitment, expansion and retention of economic base businesses in Hillsborough County.