TAMPA BAY, FL (UPDATED: September 26, 2012) – Exports are leading the national recovery and having an outsized impact on job creation in the United States with metro areas driving export growth. Within this framework, the Brookings Institution has selected the Tampa Bay region as part of the first cohort of metropolitan areas to participate in the prestigious Brookings Metropolitan Export Exchange, which will help to create and execute strategies that increase the region’s exports.
Other metro areas selected as part of the first cohort of the Exchange include Charleston, SC; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Des Moines, IA; Louisville-Lexington, KY; San Diego, CA; and San Antonio, TX.
According to 2011 data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tampa Bay was the 32nd largest merchandise export region in the United States with $9.6 billion exported from the Tampa Bay region – a $1.5 billion (18.4%) increase in exports compared to 2010.
“While Tampa Bay makes up 25% of the state’s economy, we represent only 15.6% of Florida’s merchandise exports. That gap provides a real opportunity for growth for our region,” said John Schueler, Executive Director of Corporate/Economic Development at the University of South Florida and Chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s Regional Business Plan efforts. “The selection by Brookings for the Metropolitan Export Exchange is testament not only to the economic opportunity but also to the strong collaborative group who demonstrated our region’s commitment to developing and implementing a strategic export plan.”
In 2011, Brookings developed the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI), a ground-up collaborative effort to help a pilot group of regional civic, business, and political leaders, with their states, create and implement customized Metropolitan Export Plans (MEP). These localized export plans apply market intelligence to develop better targeted, integrated export-related services and strategies to help regions better connect their firms to global customers, as outlined by their individualized export goals.
To help other metropolitan leaders successfully adopt their own plans, Brookings developed The Metropolitan Export Exchange, a six to 12 month program that will use a mix of training, peer learning opportunities, regional team work assignments, and targeted advice to help multiple metropolitan areas successfully design and implement their own MEPs.
“The continued growth of exports from our cities and communities across the country are making a real difference in creating American jobs and helping grow our economy,” said Francisco (Frank) Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Tampa native. “Cities large and small across this country have a vital role to play when it comes to fueling the growth of U.S. exports and putting the U.S. economy on a path of strong, sustainable growth. Here in Tampa, I have seen firsthand the role exports can play in expanding our regional economy and supporting good-paying jobs in our community.”
“Developing an effective export plan customized to our region’s unique assets and capabilities provides a real opportunity for Tampa Bay to build the framework to boost our economy and to grow quality, high-wage jobs now and long into the future,” said Schueler. “The industry sectors with the greatest opportunity for export growth align with the High-Tech Electronics and Instruments target sector identified in the Regional Business Plan for Tampa Bay in which our region already has a significant strength and growth potential.”
“JPMorgan Chase is proud to be involved in the effort to develop and implement an export plan for our region,” said Daniel Borasch, President, West Florida Market, JPMorgan Chase. “For Tampa Bay to secure the opportunity to work with Brookings as well as learn from peer regions as we develop our own export plan is invaluable and will assure our success.”
“The world is changing rapidly and exports serve as a good entry point for U.S. states and metro areas to restructure their orientation to the world and ensure they are taking advantage of global opportunities on many fronts,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of the Metropolitan Export Initiative. “A more comprehensive regional economic development effort that includes exports and an increasing focus on international trade and investment is critical to metropolitan long-term economic growth and sustainability.”
The Tampa Bay Exchange Steering Committee which will lead the regional effort includes JPMorgan Chase; Enterprise Florida; FedEx; Fowler White Boggs, P.A.; Pasco Economic Development Council; Pinellas County Economic Development; Manatee Economic Development Corporation; Tampa Bay Partnership; Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation; Tampa Port Authority; USF World; USF College of Business; North Highland Consulting; Tampa International Airport; Tucker/Hall; World Trade Center Tampa Bay; and the National District Export Council, West Central Florida (Tampa Bay) Chapter.
The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program launched the Metropolitan Exchange program to transfer experience from four pilot metro areas that developed regional export strategies and to support broad-scale implementation of the approach outlined in the Brookings publication “Ten Steps to Delivering a Successful Metropolitan Export Plan.” Through the Exchange process, Tampa Bay will prepare an export market assessment, export strategy, implementation plan and policy memo – all will be completed within six to nine months of start.
The Metropolitan Export Initiative is part of the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation, a national effort to catalyze and showcase leading-edge practices to boost the nation’s transition to the next economy.
About Tampa Bay Partnership:
The Tampa Bay Partnership is the regional organization that works with its partners to market the region nationally and internationally, to conduct regional research and to coordinate efforts to influence business and government issues that impact economic growth and development. Founded in 1994, the Tampa Bay Partnership provides regional economic development for the metro areas of Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Lakeland, and Bradenton/Sarasota/Venice and the counties of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota.
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