Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay mission to Mexico expected to generate $35 million in trade, but Trump was a topic, too

A recent Tampa Bay area trade mission to Mexico is projected to lead to $35.3 million in sales and future economic activity, though Mexican officials sounded out their visitors about the health of the relationship between the two neighbors.

"I’ve got to tell you: When the president is calling them rapists and murderers, it makes these kinds of missions even more challenging," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in an interview after the April 10-13 mission.

President Donald Trump’s views came up a lot during bay area officials’ meetings with Mexican officials, he said.

"They’re very professional about it, but you can see that they are hurt and confused," Buckhorn said. Among others, Buckhorn, Pinellas County Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch and Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey met with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray Caso.

"Part of what I tried to do was to reassure them that Tampa is interested in that relationship," Buckhorn said. "That we don’t build walls; we build bridges. And that we are there for the long run, (so) block out the white noise, the tweets, because that doesn’t reflect America’s relationship with Mexico and certainly not Tampa Bay’s relationship with Mexico."

NAFTA: Trump wants new NAFTA deal to cut trade deficit with Mexico

ALUMINUM AND STEEL: Trump rolling out big trade tariffs, sparing Mexico, Canada

Tampa International Airport arranged meetings with Aeromexico executives and another Mexican airline about the possibility of launching direct flights to Tampa. And Buckhorn said he spoke with his counterpart in the port city of Veracruz, one of Tampa’s sister cities, "which is a big port customer, potentially a huge port customer."

Forty-one business executives and local officials went on the trip, and 15 local companies had about 80 so-called "Gold Key" meetings with potential customers. The bay area delegation also had lunch with more than 100 Mexican business leaders, including the CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, Mexico.

What they’re saying

• "This mission generated the largest projected sales figures of any export mission we’ve done so far as a region," said Craig J. Richard, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. (Richard’s comments and others quoted here are from statements released Monday by the EDC.)

• "We came away with excellent leads and important new relationships that will help us make significant inroads in the Mexican market," said Michael Ferris, CEO of Tampa cybersecurity firm Abacode.

• "Mexico holds great opportunities for Pinellas County businesses, and we were pleased to have four companies from the county join this Global Tampa Bay mission," Welch said.

• "The organization of the events, and particularly the Gold Key appointments, ensured that participating businesses wasted no time in making key connections designed to increase exports and sales," Pinellas County Economic Development director Mike Meidel said.

• "Mexico accounts for a third of the region’s total goods exported and consistently ranks as our top exporting market," Starkey said. "This mission gave businesses throughout Tampa Bay the opportunity to strengthen their existing marketing efforts and create international relationships that will further develop and support the growth of businesses throughout the area."

• "Mexico is a huge market for Port Tampa Bay," said Wade Elliott, vice president of marketing and business development for Port Tampa Bay. "It’s already our second largest trading partner and impacts almost all our lines of business. ... Mexico is a rapidly growing container market for us, and we have two direct weekly services from Port Tampa Bay and our new refrigerated warehouse shipping there."

This was the first official mission coordinated by Global Tampa Bay, the new name for what used to be known as the Tampa Bay Export Alliance. It was established by the local economic development organizations in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

Comments
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Lucky’s Market is considering a move in to the old Albertsons box space in Clearwater, according to preliminary plans filed with the city. Lucky’s master broker, Rick Lewellyn, was listed on an agenda as discussing renovating the existing property wi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

LAND O’LAKES – A Sarasota developer is proposing to turn a vacant Winn-Dixie store in central Pasco into a Sprouts Farmers Market or similar specialty grocer.Benderson Development filed preliminary plans Monday with Pasco County to redevelop the form...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater’s Clegg Insurance Group buys Advanced Insurance Brokerage

Clearwater’s Clegg Insurance Group buys Advanced Insurance Brokerage

CLEARWATER - Clegg Insurance Group of Clearwater announced on Wednesday it has bought Brandon-based Advanced Insurance Brokerage.The merger creates a firm with more than 2,000 customers and more than $10 million in annual premiums. Terms were not dis...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s is weighing another round of hefty rate hikes.Staffers with the state-run insurer of last resort have proposed raising the average rates for homeowners by 7.9 percent — just under the legislative cap of 10 percent ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

Tampa Bay’s two largest counties showed anemic home sales in May as prices continued to rise due to a tight supply.In Pinellas, sales of single-family home plunged nearly 12 percent from the previous May, the second-worst showing in a year. Prices, t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pinellas County files suit against companies who built Public Safety Complex

Pinellas County files suit against companies who built Public Safety Complex

CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Public Safety Complex was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, but officials now say the $81 million fortress has water leaks and cracked walls.The county filed a lawsuit this month against Harvard Jolly, the S...
Updated: 8 hours ago
CEOs are calling the separation of children and families at the border ‘inhumane’ and ‘tragic’

CEOs are calling the separation of children and families at the border ‘inhumane’ and ‘tragic’

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have spoken out about the Trump administration’s hard-line "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in a sharp rise in children separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border. The president o...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Demolition looms for old Bromley office building at Midtown Tampa

Demolition looms for old Bromley office building at Midtown Tampa

TAMPA — Over the past month, demolition crews have gutted the old five-story Bromley office building at the future site of the $500 million Midtown Tampa project.On Sunday, the remaining skeleton of the building is scheduled to come down.The demoliti...
Updated: 9 hours ago