This week, Chief Agricultural Negotiator Isi Siddiqui will travel to Florida to discuss how agricultural exports are a vital part of Florida’s economy. USTR’s weekly trade spotlight focuses on how trade benefits Florida’s business and workers.
Florida is known for many things. Whether it’s for sunny beaches, amusement parks or the everglades, people flock to Florida for a variety of reasons. However, what most people may not know is that Florida is the fourth largest state exporter in the United States.
From agriculture to manufacturing to services, Floridians all across the sunshine state depend on trade for their paycheck. For example, in 2008, jobs supported by Florida’s goods exports were estimated to be 168,000 – and these jobs pay 13-19 percent higher than the national average wage.
While most people think of Florida for its citrus and citrus juices – and for good reason as Florida is the third largest state exporter of fruit – many people forget about Florida’s booming manufacturing sector. Exports of computers, transportation equipment, chemicals, and machinery led to an 89 percent increase in exports in just 10 years. One of seven manufacturing workers in Florida depends on exports for their job.
The same goes for workers in the agricultural sector. More than 25,400 jobs in Florida are supported both on and off the farm in food processing, storage, and transportation by agricultural exports. These exports will only increase once tariff barriers are removed with Korea, Colombia, and Panama upon the implementation of these trade agreements.
Besides working to implement trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama to help Florida exporters, USTR is working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This new 21st-century agreement will provide new opportunities for Florida businesses to export to various Asia-Pacific countries, opening new markets for high-quality Florida goods to be sold around the world.