Greetings from the Central Florida International Trade Office! We’re excited to share with you our insights on trade and events that will be of interest to you and your business.

Included in today’s e-blast is information about:
✔  Update on U.S. trade deficit from the CFITO
 Program Manager
✔  March 20: USCS workshop on selling to the Caribbean
✔  March 21: SBA webinar on taking your business global 
✔  March 27: SBDC at USF workshop on international travel security
✔  April 5: deadline to sign up for Enterprise Florida trade mission to Vietnam 

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the United States last year posted an $891.2 billion trade deficit in merchandise, the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.  That’s a scary-sounding number, but what exactly does this mean for your business?

First, a bit about that number.  $891.2 billion is just the deficit in goods traded, and it does not include the $270.2 billion surplus in services traded.  But that still leaves a goods and services deficit valued at 3.0 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

As important as the value of the trade deficit is the reason for its growth.  At the end of 2018, companies dependent on imports from China contemplated the threatened imposition of new and higher duties at the end of March 2019.  Their risk mitigation strategy was, quite naturally, to buy more when they knew goods would be cheaper.  Also, a successful U.S. economy and rate hikes by the Fed in the latter part of 2018 have led to a rise in the U.S. dollar.  This makes imports cheaper and exports more expensive to our customers.

So do you need to be worried?  While economic theory suggests that persistent trade deficits will be detrimental to a nation’s economic outlook by negatively impacting employment, growth, and currency value, the U.S. experience has proven this wrong.  Our economy continues to grow in spite of ballooning deficits.  Many of the goods imported are used as components in U.S. products, helping us to keep prices competitive.  And while accumulating debt to finance imports is not good, with the outflow of dollars from the U.S. to pay for imports comes the opportunity to create jobs through attracting more Foreign Direct Investment and to sell to other countries that now have dollars to spend.

Only time will tell what will happen to the deficit, but the best plan for your company is to include international trade in your growth strategy.  And we here at CFITO are here to help with that.

- Chris Leggett, CFITO Program Manager


Did you know that the Caribbean imports more than $22.9 billion worth of products and services from the United States? That makes this nearby market similar in size to India ($21 B), Australia ($22 B), and Brazil ($30 B)! Come listen to U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy (D, FL-07) and Andrew Billard, Deputy Regional Senior Commercial Officer for the Caribbean at the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic talk about how the U.S. government can help your business grow in the Caribbean!  Click on the flyer above to register for this event taking place at the NEC on March 20 @ 3:00PM.

The Small Business Administration is offering a free export webinar to help take your business global!  They will share valuable information that will help you craft your own export business business plan and connect to the marketing, business planning and data resources you need to grow your company's export sales.  Register here to join them on March 21st at 10AM, and don't forget to mention you heard about this from CFITO.

Join the FSBDC on March 27th at 4:30PM at Port Tampa Bay for a workshop designed specifically for the unique needs of business professionals traveling overseas to assess international landscapes for opportunities. Attendees will be introduced to concepts designed to raise awareness of personal and proprietary vulnerabilities when traveling & feasible measures to mitigate those risks. A country specific briefing will also be included for upcoming trade missions/shows.  More information and registration is available here.

Don't miss the April 5th deadline to join the Enterprise Florida Export Sales Mission to Vietnam!  Florida companies are invited to join this mission to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi taking place May 31-June 8, 2019.  Vietnam's more than 93 million consumers have a positive view towards the U.S. and the country is a rising star among Asia's bustling economies. 
To learn more about the mission and how your company could benefit from exporting to Vietnam, click on the poster above or contact: 
John Diep | Enterprise Florida Inc. | | 561.832.8339
or Andrea Moore | Enterprise Florida Inc. | | 850.469.8989
And please let them know that CFITO sent you their way!