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 EXIM Bank 
  May 15: CFITO Workshop on Export Financing
  May 16: Enterprise Florida - Doing Business in Colombia Roadshow
  May 21-22: National Association of District Export Councils Annual Export Conference (Arlington, VA) 
  May 30: Florida International Trade and Investment Conference (Coral Gables, FL) 
  June 5-6: U.S. Commercial Service - U.S.-Caribbean Business Conference 2019 (Miami, FL)
April 29: Volunteer opportunity at DECA International Career Development Conference

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate five years of success at CFITO on April 18th!  Over 110 people joined CFITO for our 5th Anniversary Celebration and Trade Fair, including Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, JPMorgan Chase & Co Executive Director Jason Scott and National Entrepreneur Center President Jerry Ross, all of whom we honored with awards for their support of international trade.  What an event, and I hope you’re all looking forward to what the next five years will bring!

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the EXIM Bank 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.  (Video highlights are available
here.)  What an eye opener!  Panel after panel of expert speakers made it clear that without EXIM Bank, the U.S. is competing with one arm tied behind its back.  In fact, many lucrative infrastructure contracts require some form of sovereign export credit financing, and if American companies cannot get EXIM-backed credit, they cannot move forward in the bidding process.

What is the source of the problem?  Congress has not confirmed EXIM Board of Director nominees, and a Board quorum has not existed since 2015.  Not having a Board quorum may not sound particularly problematic until you realize that EXIM Bank cannot approve projects larger than $10 million without Board approval.  This means that not only are many Central Florida companies losing business directly by not being able to secure export credit for projects, but small and medium size businesses are also missing out when the large companies they supply do not have access to the export credit they need to be competitive.  In fact, large U.S. companies are having to subcontract in Europe and South Korea in order to get access to export credit

There were two key data points that bear repeating.  First, in the past two years China has provided more export credit to Chinese companies than EXIM has in its 85 year history. American businesses have to be able to compete based on the quality of their product or service and not be held back because they do not have access to the same level of credit.  The second is that there are $40-billion in overseas projects waiting for EXIM approval which would support 240,000 jobs in the USA.  Bottom line: these jobs will go to foreign competitors, like the Chinese, if EXIM cannot get a Board quorum.

As free-market economists, Trump Administration officials Larry Kudlow (Director of the National Economic Council) and Peter Navarro (White House Trade Advisor) both stated that they would rather that U.S. companies not need to rely on the EXIM Bank.  Nonetheless, these gentlemen are also proponents of ensuring that U.S. companies face a level playing field abroad.  So until such time as our competitors “disarm” and stop providing export credit to their companies, they recognize that the United States has to provide similar for our exporters.

If you’re interested in learning more about export credit, be sure to attend our workshop on May 15th (details below)!

And please save the date for a lunch event on Business Etiquette: How to Do Business in Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic being planned for June 5th (12:00-1:30 PM).

- Chris Leggett, CFITO Program Manager


Making the sale is key, but ultimately your goal is to get paid and make a profit.  Sales abroad are different than at home, and you may be wondering, how do I ensure that I do get paid? Could I lose a sale because my customer cannot get financing? And how can I finance a necessary increase in production capacity to supply my new foreign clients?

EXIM Bank and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) trade finance specialists will come to answer your questions and speak about the financing solutions they offer – including export credit insurance, working capital guarantees, and guarantees of commercial loans to foreign buyers – to empower exporters of U.S. goods and services.

Please join us at the CFITO offices (3201 E. Colonial Dr., Ste. A-20, Orlando, FL 32803) on May 15th at 9:00 AM for this workshop on financing your exports. 

Register to attend here or by clicking on the image above.

In preparation for the upcoming Export Sales Mission to Colombia, Enterprise Florida will be hosting a Doing Business in Colombia Roadshow from May 14 – 17, 2019.

With nearly $7 billion in two-way trade, Florida accounts for 24 percent of all U.S. trade with Colombia – more than any other state. Florida exported nearly $4.4 billion of merchandise to Colombia in 2018, making the country Florida’s second-largest export market. Florida companies looking to increase their footprint in the Colombian market are well-positioned to benefit from these opportunities!

During the roadshow, you will learn about:

  • The economic, political, and social environment of the country.
  • Best export opportunities for Florida companies.
  • How companies can participate in the upcoming Export Sales Mission and the Gold Key/Matchmaker Grant that covers 100% of the Participation Fee for qualified companies.

The guest speaker for this event is Mr. Camilo Gonzalez, Sr. Regional Commercial Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service in Bogota.

The Roadshow will take place: 
Orlando - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Enterprise Florida, Inc.
800 North Magnolia Avenue, Suite 1100
Orlando, Florida 32803
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $10.00

2019 NADEC Annual Export Conference
May 21 - 22, 2019 | Arlington, Virginia

Organizer: National Association of District Export Councils (NADEC)
Contact: NADEC |

NADEC Annual Export Conference brings together distinguished speakers, business leaders, high-ranking U.S. and foreign government officers, exporters, manufacturers, service providers, and trade promotion agencies to discuss the latest news and updates on Trade Policy, Export Market Opportunities and Challenges in focused sectors and regions. 

Florida International Trade and Investment Conference
May 30, 2019 | Coral Gables, Florida

Organizer: Florida Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Dan Tapia |

The Florida International Trade and Investment Conference is the only statewide inbound mission program dedicated to promoting Florida as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) and developing business to business relationships to grow two-way trade. Designed to bring trade ready Florida businesses, economic development organizations, industry associations with partners in global markets to build business connections and promote investment opportunities in Florida.

U.S. - Caribbean Business Conference 2019
June 5 - 6, 2019 | Miami, Florida

Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
Contact: Maria Elena Portorreal |

The U.S. Commercial Service, the South Florida District Export Council (DEC), and Enterprise Florida (EFI) are organizing the U.S. Caribbean Business Conference to help your company access opportunities across this important region. The conference will include panel discussions, sessions, one-on-one meetings with U.S. Commercial Diplomats and information regarding successfully wining procurement.

Volunteer Opportunity:

Thanks to Friend of International Trade Michael Gormalley (Orlando resident and a director of the Vietnam-American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City) for identifying this local volunteer opportunity!  DECA's International Career Development Conference still needs volunteers to evaluate presentations by high school students from across the country who will be gathering here in Orlando to present their case studies and compete to represent the U.S. in international competitions.

The DECA IDC takes place Monday, April 29th from 12:30 PM to 6:45 PM at the Orange County Convention Center.  More information on volunteering can be found by clicking on the picture above or at the
DECA website.