On April 1, 2015, the Central Florida International Trade Office (CFITO) celebrated its first anniversary. The event was hosted by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Ann Reinert from JP Morgan Chase who were the original funding sponsors of the office.

What type of work does the CFITO do to help encourage business with Asia?

The CFITO’s goal is to accelerate access to existing resources, providing relevant assistance and fostering international trade opportunities throughout the region.

That said, we encourage business with Asia the same way we encourage business with all of the regions in the world, by hosting educational events focused on doing business with a country or region. For example, on May 21 we will be hosting a “doing business with Bahrain” seminar at the National Entrepreneur Center.

What are the thoughts on the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and what will the effect be for Central Florida?

Central Florida International Trade Office (CFITO) celebrated its first anniversaryWe believe this initiative will provide a wealth of opportunities for our local companies looking to further their business via international trade.

The U.S. already holds similar free trade agreements with 20 countries, some of them would be also covered under the Trans-Pacifica Partnership (TPP) (e.g., Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Singapore), so the TPP will enhance the benefits already yielded by such treaties.

Central Florida is well positioned to capitalize on this market’s potential; Orlando International Airport (OIA) just announced a direct flight to Dubai, which can be used as a gateway to the overall Asian continent and OIA is currently pursuing a direct flight to China. Furthermore, Port Canaveral is now equipped to manage container cargo providing customers with the convenience of  shipping directly to and from Central Florida without having to use a West Coast port.

Central Florida International Trade Office (CFITO) celebrated its first anniversaryHow can local businesses get involved with the CFITO?

Local businesses can get involved by attending the CFITO events or by simply calling and requesting a consultation.  Most of the CFITO events are free of cost to the attendees.

There was a recent delegation from China that visited, how did the trip go and any new business from that?

We hosted a delegation from Chengdu, China in May 2014. The group was focused on the food and beverage industry. It is our understanding that two of the vendors that the group visited is currently in negotiations with some of the Chinese counterparts.

For more information, visit http://cfito.org