Florida’s Trinidadian-born lieutenant governor will head a sales mission leaving this weekend to the island nation of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Sunshine State’s 23rd largest trading partner.
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and Enterprise Florida will fly from Miami to the Caribbean nation that is also the birthplace of calypso and chutney, and which received $557.4 million in exports from Florida last year.
“Known as the largest and strongest economy in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in the region, which positions the country as a hub for U.S. business activities,” states the flyer Enterprise Florida used to sell the trip.
The delegation will include 27 Florida companies
“As the first Trinidadian-American elected to statewide office, I am especially honored to return as Trinidad celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence,” Carroll stated in a release.
“However, I am most pleased to return to the country of my birth in my official capacity, as Florida’s lieutenant governor, with the sole purpose of strengthening our shared economic interests.”
Carroll will participate in the U.S. Embassy Speaker Program, with her speaking engagements focused on American democracy and the role states have in U.S. elections.
About 40,000 people from Trinidad and Tobago live in Florida, and in 2011 Florida received 75,000 visitors from the island nation. They spent $125 million while in the Sunshine State.
Big on tourism, the nation, fifth largest producer of liquefied natural gas, imports heavily from Florida in areas of oil, agriculture, automotive parts and electronics.
“We felt it was time to re-engage one-to-one with business leaders from Trinidad and Tobago and expose a new crop of up-and-coming Florida companies to trade opportunities there,” Manny Mencía, senior vice president of International Trade and Development for Enterprise Florida Inc., stated in a release.
Those on the mission -- other than Carroll -- will spend two full days at the capital city of Port of Spain on the northwest coast of the island of Trinidad. They each will pay $450 to $600.
Last year, Carroll went to England and Spain with Space Florida officials and fronted a trade mission to South Africa.
Carroll visited Brazil and Taiwan as a state lawmaker.
She still has miles to go to catch Gov. Rick Scott, who recently completed a trade mission to London.
Scott went to Spain with Enterprise Florida in May and headed four trade-related trips last year, each with Enterprise Florida: Panama in March, Canada in June, Brazil in October and Israel in December.
A trade mission to Colombia, one of the state’s largest trading partners and expected to be a bigger player once the Panama Canal expansion is complete in 2015, is in the works for the end of the year.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.