Tampa, Florida - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk last night arrived in Tampa, Florida to tour the Port of Tampa and meet with local government and business leaders. During his visit to Tampa, Ambassador Kirk will have an opportunity to learn more about the largest, most diversified seaport in Florida and how a growing component of the port's business is its container trade, which links Tampa directly with Asia and providing connections across the globe and play a role in the Port of Tampa's economic success. Ambassador Kirk will also meet with Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio's Economic Development Team and participate in a small business roundtable to discuss why trade is good for the U.S. economy and how trade can help local business owners create jobs in Florida.
Across Florida, one in nine manufacturing workers depends on exports for his or her job, and export-supported jobs accounted for an estimated one in 100 private-sector jobs in Florida. Last year, export-sector workers helped produce $4.9 billion worth of goods for shipment to Brazil, Florida's top export destination. In total, Brazil accounts for 9 percent of all Florida exports, followed by Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia.
Florida's leading export category is computers and electronics, which together accounted for $12.7 billion in export sales in 2008. Other top exports included transportation equipment, worth $9.2 billion, and chemical manufactures, worth $7.7 billion - all of them made by Florida workers, helping to sustain and create good-paying jobs even in the middle of an economic crisis.
Job-creating export opportunities are not limited to one part of the state, but extended to workers all across Florida. In the first half of 2008, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area exported $3.3 billion in goods, while the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach metropolitan area exported $16.2 billion, and Jacksonville exported $981 million.