USF's Patel Center Summit to Explore Trade with Latin America, Caribbean

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2009) –  Far and away, the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are Florida’s largest international trading partners, forging economic alliances that create hundreds of billions of dollars of trade and thousands of jobs both here and abroad.  But shifting economic conditions and the world recession are presenting new challenges to what has been a fruitful trading relationship.  Now, leading thinkers from the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions at the University of South Florida and the Florida Network for Global Studies  are bringing several of  Florida’s trade and business experts together in a summit Wednesday,  Feb. 18 to explore the economic threats and opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean.


 “Although growth opportunities are hard to come by in nearly every part of the world right now, the Summit will give local Florida businesses and investors an opportunity to hear and question experts who understand where are the investment and trade niches in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009,” said Mark Amen, academic director for the Patel Center.


The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Marshall Center Ball Room at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus.  Keynote addresses will be delivered by John Adams, president of Enterprise Florida, and Eric Farnsworth, vice president for the Council of the Americas in Washington, D.C.  Panelists representing USF, the University of Florida, Florida International University, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay and Enterprise Florida will discuss the future of trade and investment with a focus on the energy sector and the state of trade relations.


Enterprise Florida reports that Florida Origin Exports to Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for $23.8 billion in 2007 – more than 53 percent of the goods and services manufactured in Florida for overseas export.  Brazil is Florida’s largest international trading partner in a region that has posted six straight years of economic gains and is projected to grow still in 2009, but at a much slower pace.  The United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean recently reported that declining exports from the region are expected to cause unemployment rates to increase in 2009, and the financial landscape is made even more uncertain by the global economic slowdown, which is affecting Latin American and Caribbean tourism, foreign direct investment and remittances.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

– USF –

Story Source:     Bessie Skoures

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