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Scott Readies For More Trips Abroad To Drum Up More Foreign Interest In Florida

Florida Governor Rick Scott has been busy not only traveling the state, but to other countries as well. He just finished a trade mission in Chile, one of the state’s largest trading partners. And, he’s now setting his sights on Japan and France.

Governor Rick Scott’s first term isn’t over yet, and already, he’s taken more trips overseas than his predecessor Charlie Crist.

“So, I’ve done eight trade delegations, since I’ve won the race to become your Governor. This is my fourth to Central and South America. There’s a lot of companies that want to do more business here,” Scott said Monday.

Governor Scott is referring to his trips abroad to countries, like Brazil, Colombia, and England. Trade missions usually focus on creating more trade opportunities, like import and export trading.

Scott recently came back from leading a trade delegation to Chile, Florida’s seventh largest trading partner. Friday, Scott touted the successes of the trip and the close to 40-million dollars in expected sales as a result of the trip.

And now, Scott’s getting ready for another trip in June: this time, to the 50th Paris Air Show in France—one of the world’s largest and oldest air shows.

“I go the air show next month in Europe to get more companies here, like Pratt and Whitney expanded last year to 230 jobs. It would have been nice if it had been 230,000, but it was 230 jobs. It was based on a relationship we built and discussions we had with their owner, United Technologies. So, you just build relationships, you help companies in Florida expand here, but you help people come from other countries and do business here,” added Scott.

And, Gray Swoope agrees. He’s the head of Enterprise Florida, the state’s lead economic development agency, which also helps organize the trips. He says going to the Paris Air Show is a perfect opportunity for Florida.

“When you look at Florida being a dominant player in aerospace and aviation, and if you look at two bi-annual events where all the leaders in the aerospace-aviation industry will be, every other year the Paris Air Show is one of those. Last year, Governor Scott and our team participated in the Farnborough Air Show. In a 72-hour period, he was in front of over 40 different companies, talking about doing business in Florida. And, those are international companies: Some are U.S. based and some that are other nationalities,” said Swoope.

The Governor is also slated to take a trip to Japan. Unlike past trips, like Scott’s trip to Chile, this one will not focus on trade. Instead, Swoope says it’s a business development mission.

“So, missions, like to Japan, are focused more on foreign-direct investment. As we know, in Japan, relationships are very important. We’re going to go there in the Fall and really work on building relationships that we have with our office there, which we’re re-establishing, and working on trying to attract more Japanese investment that we have in the state of Florida,” Swoope added.

So, why Japan?

“When you look in terms of the already investment in our state, it will rank 3 or 4. Depending on the year, currently, it’s slightly behind Germany, as the number 4 investor in terms of the number of jobs in our state. And, as we are trying to grow our economy and look for opportunities, I think the state of Florida has to be in position to attract foreign-direct investment from Japan,” said Swoope.

The Japan trip was initially scheduled to last from October 19th to the 26th. But, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida says those dates may soon change. Meanwhile, the Paris Air Show, which is both a trade and business development mission, will last for a week, starting on June 17th.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.