WFSU News Team
Mon August 6, 2012
Lt Gov Carroll Leads Trade Mission To Her Homeland Trinidad and Tobago
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll is leading a trade mission to her home-country, Trinidad and Tobago. Carroll, who is traveling with representatives from several Florida companies, hopes to strengthen economic ties between the state and the Caribbean island.
Trinidad is the state’s largest trading partner in the English-Speaking Caribbean, and one of Florida’s top trading partners in the world. The last trade mission to the island was 12 years ago. And, Stuart Doyle, a Spokesman for the state’s economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, says the goal is to expose up and coming Florida companies to doing more import-export trade opportunities in that region.
“Since we hadn’t been there in awhile and because the relationship is so strong, it’s certainly one that we don’t want to take for granted," said Doyle. "And, it’s a real opportunity for smaller businesses to learn about the products and services that Trinidad and Tobago want and need from Florida and vice versa."
Doyle adds maintaining business ties with Trinidad is also a major priority for Florida.
“Trinidad and Tobago is in our list of top 25 trading partners in the world, so it’s a significant trading partner, even outside of being number one in the Caribbean," said Doyle. "Now, bilateral trade last year between Florida and Trinidad last year totaled about $1.9 billion, and that was a 24.1 percent increase in bilateral trade over the previous year.”
Doyle says Trinidad and Tobago also shares significant cultural and business ties with Florida. About 40,000 people from the Island currently live in Florida. And, last year, about 75,000 people from Trinidad and Tobago spent a total of $125 million dollars when they visited the state.
A delegation of 27 companies from 23 different industries are on the mission with Lieutenant Governor Carroll. It's Carroll's third trade mission, after leading two last year to Spain and South Africa. The five-day trade mission started over the weekend and is expected to end Wednesday.