quincentennial celebrations.Gov. Rick Scott is off to Spain this weekend, leading a four-day business development mission that will also include a meeting with King Juan Carlos and a whiff of Florida's upcoming
Scott will be joined on the trip by first lady Ann Scott, three staffers from their offices, along with more than 60 officials from various government offices and private businesses on the excursion, focused on increasing opportunities for companies from Spain -- Florida’s 34th largest trading partner -- to invest, grow and create jobs in Florida.
Lane Wright, Scott’s spokesman, said the governor will be able to personally address any problems that business leaders in Spain say they have breaking into or expanding in the Florida marketplace.
“Whether or not they have any problems that need to be solved, just the fact that the governor of the state of Florida is coming and visiting shows we’re serious about creating jobs,” said Wright, who will be among the mission passengers that depart Sunday from Miami International Airport for the nearly nine-hour American Airlines flight to Madrid.
There are already an estimated 400 Spain-based companies working in Florida, which has one of the largest number of Spanish expatriates in the United States.
Enterprise Florida spokesman Stuart Doyle said the overseas missions are worthwhile as a means to strengthen business and economic ties between Florida companies and the targeted nation.
“This mission to Spain has a goal of recruiting more foreign direct investment for Florida,” Doyle declared in an email. “With trade missions, sales for participating companies are factored in.”
View the agenda for the trip here.
At $793.6 million a year in trade, Spain is wedged between Taiwan and Jamaica on the list of Florida’s trading partners.
Among the companies and outfits sending people on the mission, are: Florida Power & Light, Enterprise Florida, the Economic Development Commission of Florida Space Coast, Holland & Knight, Florida Realtors, Dosal Tobacco Corp., Jax USA Partnership, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Florida Humanities Council, Florida Crystals Corp., and Greenberg Traurig.
"Florida holds a unique, historical relationship with Spain. On the eve of the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon to Florida, Team Florida’s mission to Spain will allow state business leaders to connect with the 12th largest economy in the world and one of Florida’s top 50 trading partners," Edie Ousley, Chamber vice president of public affairs, responded in an email.
"As the Florida Chamber continues marching toward the goal of doubling Florida-origin exports by 2015, the mission to Spain will help create economically beneficial business opportunities to increase foreign direct investments in Florida."
Other state officials on the trip hosted by Enterprise Florida include: Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island; Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner; Space Florida President Frank DiBello; and Florida Secretary of Transportation Ananth Prasad.
View Team Florida Mission to Spain here.
Cost is $1,000 per person to register, plus travel and lodging.
Enterprise Florida foots the bill for the Scotts, as the head of the delegation, with expenses for Wright, first lady Ann Scott’s chief of staff Sara Hansford, and Brad Piepenbrink, a special assistant to Gov. Scott, coming from state travel funds.
For Scott, this would be his fifth international mission since taking office a year ago.
Scott headed four trade-related trips last year, each with Enterprise Florida, visiting Panama in March, Canada in June, Brazil in October and Israel in December.
Brazil is Florida’s largest trading partner, at $15.5 billion a year. Panama stands 20th and Canada is 31st, according to Enterprise Florida.
Among Florida’s top exports to Spain are medical supplies, cars, aircraft and aircraft parts, and yachts and other vessels.
The top imports from Spain include non-crude oil, ceramics, wine and olive oil.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.