Port Manatee Leaders Hit Road To Promote Trade Hub

Todays News


Port Manatee officials will bring a group of business leaders from around the world to Fort Lauderdale today, the first in a tour of four Florida cities the guests will visit as part of an international summit taking place all week. It’s part of an effort by the International Trade Hub at the Palmetto port to present the state’s assets through a series of expo-style events.

“We bring in 30 to 40 companies from overseas and do almost like an Enterprise Florida event,” explains Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras. It’s part of an outreach effort to showcase not only the physical assets of the port but the reason why Florida serves as a hotbed for international trade.

“I don’t think any other port has ever done that,” Buqueras said.

The International Trade Summit starts at Port Everglades today at 10am and runs through 2pm today. At each stop, an expo-style event with presentations, showboards and booths will allow commerce leaders to pitch international partnerships and business relationships.

Then, it moves Tuesday to Fort Myers at the Lee County Economic Development Office, where a similar mini-expo will run from 9:30am to 1:30pm. The Port Manatee officials bring everything home to Manatee County to hold a similar event Wednesday at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce from 9:30am to 1:30pm. Finally, the group will go to The Portico in Tampa on Thursday for an event that runs from 10am to 2pm.

The whole time, visitors and Port leaders will travel together in two busses. There’s no requirement any of the guests commit to something at Port Manatee in particular, but by arranging and running the summit, it puts the Manatee County entity in a leadership role as far as promoting Florida trade.

“Entrepreneurs throughout Florida and beyond will have dynamic opportunities to build productive global connections through the International Trade Summit functions,” Buqueras said in a statement.

“Taking Port Manatee’s world-class trade center on the road with a series of interactive events to which the public is invited maximizes the prospects for Florida businesses to benefit from the hub’s extensive expertise while developing highly valuable commercial relationships around the world.”

Summit attendees hail from a number of critical countries for trade through ports, including Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and Spain. The tour will also include domestic producers looking to export products outside the Unites States or who need to import goods and materials.

“I think Port Manatee and the International Trade Hub have a fiduciary responsibility not just to increase the port’s coffers but to expand outreach to benefit our exporters and importers and companies in Florida that might otherwise never have use of the port,” Buqueras told SRQ.

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