Florida Power and Light President Eric Silagy will be among the 100 business and government officials accompanying Gov. Rick Scott to Chile next week in his eighth international trade mission.
The delegation put together by Enterprise Florida is intended to drum up additional trading partners from the South American nation that already ranks sixth among Florida’s export destinations.
Scott declined to say on Friday if he will continue his review of the state budget – he has until Fridayto sign the $74.5 billion package – while out of the country.
Meetings for the Monday-Thursday trip re planned with Latam Airlines Group, associations for fruit exporters and sea food producers, and chamber of commerce leaders in Santiago. Individual meetings have also been scheduled between officials from Chilean firms and representatives from 19 Florida-based companies, said Manny Mencia, who organized the trip as the head of Enterprise Florida’s international trade division in Miami.
Scott said Friday the goal of the mission, besides creating jobs, is to increase exports and imports, while attracting Chileans to invest in Florida products.
“The whole goal is to work with the companies that go down there with me, how do we help them network, how do we help them meet more people, how do we help them team up with companies down there to get more jobs in those companies?” Scott said.
While some members of the delegation are leaving this weekend, Scott is to take an overnight American Airlines flight directly with the bulk of the delegation from Miami to Santiago that departs late Monday, Mencia said.
Among the listed entourage, paying a $650 to $900 per person registration fee that doesn’t include airfare, lodging and meals, are Silagy, U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Specialist Lesa Forbes, Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs and executives from St. Joe Co., Royal Caribbean Cruises, Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Orlando International Airport.
Enterprise Florida covers Scott’s expenses.
Chile has been an enticing trading partner for Florida since the U.S and Chile Free Trade Agreement was implemented in January 2004. The agreement allowed about 90 percent of U.S. exports to the South American nation to enter duty free. The remaining tariffs are set to expire by 2015.
According to Enterprise Florida, trade with Chile grew 11.7 percent last year from 2011, reaching $7.7 billion, of which $4.3 billion was in exports. Florida’s exports to Chile are heavy in health-care services, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, financial services, and construction, security and agricultural equipment.
Scott’s previous trade missions have been to Brazil, Panama, Israel, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and Colombia.
Scott’s next trade mission is the 50th International Paris Air Show, which runs June 17-23.