On March 3 – 4, 2020, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), a statutory body under the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce of the Government of Belize (GOB), were hosted at a two (2) day outbound Belize Business Mission in Tallahassee, the capital city of the state of Florida in the U.S. Belize and the state of Florida have long maintained bilateral commercial relationships in areas of trade, investment and enterprise development. Apart from serving as the primary port and airlift gateway for Belizean exports and travelers into the U.S., many members of the Belizean diaspora also currently reside within the state presenting several opportunities for greater commercial, educational and other exchanges in development.  

For this reason, the mission was organized around the core objective of further assessing key points of partnership in trade and investment development with the state of Florida specifically, while promoting bilateral opportunities for market access and investment diversification. As a part of the visit, several meetings were held at the State Capitol with key members of the state’s legislature including members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The visit also included meetings with Florida’s Secretary of State, Laurel M. Lee, and Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Jeanette Nuñez, in further discussing bilateral trade and investment engagements between Belize and the State of Florida. Furthermore, the mission included a meeting with Mr. Jamal Sowell, Secretary of Commerce and the CEO of Enterprise Florida, BELTRAIDE’s counterpart trade promotion and development agency.

The Belize delegation was led by Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director of BELTRAIDE and included Ms. Shahera McKoy, Manager of EXPORTBelize, and Mr. Hero Balani, Manager of BelizeINVEST Generation, units of BELTRAIDE. The mission was organized in collaboration with Mr. Michael D. Young, Executive Director of the Belize American Chamber of Commerce, as well as, Mr. Shawn Foster and Mr. Sam Wagoner of Sunrise Consulting Group in Florida. Several follow up actions are already underway including the potential organization of a follow-up mission from Florida to Belize from September 10 – 14, 2020.