St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be among the local elected officials leading a trade mission to Santiago, Chile, later this year.
The mission is being organized by the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a new collaboration between Pinellas County Economic Development and the nonprofit Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.
"This mission to Chile is our first joint mission since we made that announcement (of the export alliance's creation) in May," said Jennifer Mikosky, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC's vice president of marketing and communications. It is scheduled for Dec. 1 to 5.
Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel and Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller Jr. will help lead the mission. The export alliance will use private funds to cover the travel costs of $2,360 per person for the elected officials going on the trip, Mikosky said.
This sort of trip is becoming increasingly familiar to Buckhorn, who, as mayor, has traveled to Panama (three times), Germany, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, Israel and India to promote his city.
The mission will include opportunities for 10 companies to have one-on-one matchmaking sessions with prospective Chilean trade partners. Chile, Florida's fourth largest export market in 2013, allows 90 percent of U.S. exports to cross its borders duty-free, with plans to phase out the rest of its tariffs by 2015.
Economic development officials say top Chilean export sectors for businesses in the Tampa Bay area include construction, medical devices, irrigation and water resource technology, food processing and packaging equipment, agricultural machinery, mining equipment, auto parts, and consumer goods.
The export alliance will host two free 90-minute workshops on the mission at 8:30 a.m. July 29 at the Small Business Development Center at the Tampa Port Authority, 1101 Channelside Drive; and at 8:30 a.m. July 30 at the EpiCenter, 13805 N 58th St., in Clearwater. Seating is limited, so registration is required. For more information, visit tampaedc.com/International-Business/21173-Chile-flyer.aspx
Times staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this report. Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times.