DATE: September 12, 2012
The Colombian Mayors' Business Delegation was welcomed by Broward Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
The Colombian Consul General, Colombian Mayors from several cities, port operators, business owners, exporters and those in the publishing business have arrived in Broward County hoping to build business relationships which will result in profitable ventures and strengthen both economies.
Broward County Commissioners welcomed the delegation at Tuesday’s Board meeting. “The recession, that we’re slowly coming out of, hit us hard and we as elected officials had to make hard financial decisions. Now we’re looking to expand all business opportunities in Broward County. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement brings opportunity. We welcome you and hope that you will see firsthand all that we have to offer and do business with us,” said Mayor John E. Rodstrom, Jr. who presented a Key to the County to Deputy Consul General of Colombia Juan Jose Paez Pinzon.
“For the government of Colombia, the state of Florida is very important. We opened a new consulate in Orlando and we also have our main branch of the Colombian commerce office in Miami. So we are hoping that this partnership with the representatives of the state of Florida is very successful,” said Pinzon.
“The Broward County Commission favored taking a leading role in organizing this trade mission, along with our co-sponsors, in order to maximize economic development opportunities such as job creation, new prospects for local businesses and increased revenue in Broward County,” said Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, who initiated and organized the Colombian trade mission with Commission approval.
The Colombian Mayors’ Business delegation toured Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the Broward County Emergency Operations Center and the cities of Miramar and Weston. They also participated in a daylong business symposium at Nova Southeastern University’s new Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach.
The U.S. - Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into effect in May. More than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia became duty free, with the remaining tariffs being phased out over the next 10 years.
In 2011, the number of Colombians visiting Florida rose by 13 percent, which made Colombia fifth in spending by foreign visitors. Approximately 238,509 passengers flew from Fort Lauderdale to Colombia in the past 12 months. Residents of Colombian ancestry make up the third largest group of Hispanics in Broward with a population of 66,500 people.