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Stacey Swank
Pinellas County Economic Development 
(727) 464-7425
Media Contact
Michelle Bauer
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
 (813) 518-2644

Tampa Bay Export Alliance Announces Trade Mission to Toronto, Canada

Pinellas and Hillsborough County Commissioners, Mayors from St. Petersburg and Tampa and local business executives will travel to Toronto, October 19-22 to advance  trade opportunities for local companies

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - June 17, 2015 - The Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a cooperative effort of Pinellas County Economic Development and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, today announced that it will lead a trade mission to Toronto, Canada to promote export opportunities for local businesses. 

Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners Vice Chairman Charlie Justice, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chair Sandy Murman, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will also join the Tampa Bay delegation. The Canada trade mission participants will depart from Tampa International Airport on October 19 and return October 22.

The Canadian market presents an excellent opportunity for local companies.  "Toronto has one of the most diverse economies in North America. It's a strong financial services hub and a center for manufacturing; life sciences; technology; and film, TV and music production," said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. "Companies should contact us as soon as possible, as the available Gold Key Appointments will be filled very quickly.

"Canada is one of the most important strategic markets for Tampa Bay," said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. "It is the number one export destination for our region's goods and services and our third largest source of foreign direct investment. The opportunities for local companies to expand their North American footprint and find a receptive market for their goods and services in Canada have never been better."

Two package options have been created for the Canada trade mission participants. The Trade/Gold Key Package, in collaboration with the U.S. Commercial Service, offers representatives from qualified companies expert counseling on their market entry/expansion strategy and the opportunity to connect with Canadian trade partners during personalized, one-on-one matchmaking sessions. Participation in the Gold Key program will be limited to 15 businesses and determined on a first-come, first-served basis, once the companies are assessed and approved based on the suitability of their product or service for the market. Target Sector Trade Grants from Enterprise Florida are available to qualified mission participants.

A Delegate Package, which does not include the matchmaking appointments, will provide business leaders with the opportunity to attend all of the mission activities, including seminars, site visits, networking events and a briefing by U.S. Embassy officials. An unlimited number of spots for the Delegate Package are available.

Top export sectors to Canada from Tampa Bay include power generation, automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, defense products and services, safety and security equipment, renewable energy, information and communications technology, pollution control, wastewater treatment, mining, travel and tourism, film and digital media, and agricultural services, products and equipment.

Registration for the Canada Trade Mission is now open. For more information, please visit

For those interested in exploring Canadian export opportunities but wanting more information, the Tampa Bay Export Alliance is hosting two "Doing Business in Canada" workshops. The workshops will provide an overview of major industry trends and business opportunities in Canada. Participants will learn how local companies can benefit from expanding into this market and how to connect to local assistance and grants.

Featured speakers include Ximena Pauvif-Machado, Trade Commissioner for the Canadian Consulate General in Miami and Anya Yablonska of the U.S. Commercial Services at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto. Admission for the workshops is free, but registration is required. 

  • Doing Business in Canada - Workshop 1 will be held on June 30 from 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. in Clearwater at the National Aviation Academy. Click here to register.
  • Doing Business in Canada - Workshop 2 will be held at Port Tampa Bay in Tampa on
    July 1 from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. Click here to register.

The mission to Canada is the latest in a series of significant trips Tampa Bay government and business leaders have taken to foreign markets to strengthen the region's commercial opportunities abroad. In December 2014, the Tampa Bay Export Alliance led a successful trade mission to Santiago, Chile that resulted in more than $9 million in expected new business for participating companies.  Other recent trips included trade missions to Panama, Brazil and Colombia.




The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA) is a cooperative effort between Pinellas County Economic Development and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, formed in 2014 to grow jobs and capital investment by increasing the international export of products and services within the bi-county area. The TBEA conducts joint export activities, such as seminars, trade events and trade missions, and supports the export-related growth initiatives of regional economic partners, including Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.

Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) works with existing businesses to encourage expansion and seeks to attract new companies with high-wage careers to our community. Through investment tools, business classes, professional consulting services, trade missions to open new markets, and strategic partnerships, PCED fosters a pro-business environment and promotes the Ideal Business Climate of Pinellas County, Florida.

The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation is the lead economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention, and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment within targeted industry sectors. Locally, the EDC helps existing businesses access the tools and resources they need to succeed, now and in the future.

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