China becomes No. 2 exporter through Miami-Dade
By Claudio Mendonça
China has surpassed the Dominican Republic to become the second-biggest exporter through Miami-Dade County.
Sales of Chinese goods through Miami-Dade jumped from $1.8 billion in 2003 to $2.4 billion in 2004. Brazil remains the biggest exporter to Miami-Dade, totaling $3.8 billion in sales last year, up from $3.1 billion in 2003.
Overall, Miami-Dade saw $28.7 billion in goods flow in from abroad in 2004, up nearly 11% from $25.9 billion in 2003, according to statistician Maria Iseman in the US Census Bureau.
In January, Miami-Dade had imports of $2.4 billion. Of the total, $270 million came from Brazil and $243 million from China - a pace that could bring Chinese imports through Miami-Dade to $3 billion this year.
China is the top trading partner with Europe and the US's third-largest partner at $231 billion, behind only Canada and Mexico.
"Whether it is imports or exports, it is good to promote usage of the seaport," said Manny Gonzalez, executive director of Miami-Dade County's Jay Malina International Trade Consortium. "Trade services generate jobs for the county benefiting local freight forwarders, customs brokers, re-sellers and ocean liners."
Brazil was the county's biggest buyer at $5 billion in 2004, up from $4 billion in 2003, and was followed by Venezuela at $2.3 billion. The county exported $30 billion in goods last year, up from $26.2 billion the prior year.
While Miami-Dade exported $1.8 billion worth of goods to Colombia and $2.1 billion to the Dominican Republic last year, county exports totaled just $93 million to China.
The county's international trade consortium recently returned from a mission to the Far East. In China, the 17 participants visited Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tianjin.
"We signed an economic and exchange cooperative agreement between Tianjin and Miami," said Mr. Gonzalez. He said Tianjin is China's third-largest city and one of the fastest-growing places in the Far East. "It is a growing area and gives us access to the northern part of the country. It is becoming a major trading center and has lots of industrial potential growth."
Mr. Gonzalez said Tianjin is growing rapidly and has the advantage of not being an oversaturated market, as are Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The trip included a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is considering opening a trade office in South Florida.
Domingo Moya, president of MVI & Associates, a company representing local engineering and architectural firms, said that because China will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2008 and the World Expo in 2010, there are numerous opportunities in construction. In addition, Macao is becoming a mecca for hotel-casino construction. Macao is expected to have 60,000 hotel rooms in the next seven years.
"It was a very impressive mission working both ways," Mr. Moya said. "It was a beneficial trip."