Port Manatee, Argentina building on leading trade partnership
PALMETTO, Florida - Port Manatee is actively enhancing its relationship with Argentina, its No. 1 source of imports, as an Argentine diplomat sees fortifying the U.S. Gulf Coast port's role in linking Latin America's second-most-populous nation with burgeoning Central and Southwest Florida markets.
"We are looking to strengthen our trade relationship with Port Manatee, further benefiting from its favorable gateway position in Central Florida," Martín de Antueno, deputy consul of Argentina, said today [Thursday, May 31] as he led a morning-long seminar at the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee.
"As Argentina has opened its foreign trade policy over the past 2 1/2 years, we are now entering the world, and the world is welcoming us," said de Antueno, who, following the trade seminar, was hosted at a downtown Bradenton luncheon with sponsors including Manatee County and Manatee Chamber of Commerce. "We truly appreciate the welcome we are getting at Port Manatee."
Imports into Port Manatee from Argentina totaled $675 million in value during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2017, making the South American country of 45 million people Port Manatee's top supplier of inbound cargo.
Noting that aluminum and biodiesel fuels are among commodities shipped to Port Manatee from Argentina, Miami-based de Antueno said Florida receives about one-third of all of Argentina's imports into the United States, while significant opportunities remain not only for growing such northbound volumes but also for increasing exports from Florida to Argentina. In years past, Port Manatee exports to Argentina have included fertilizers.
"We look forward to working with interests from Argentina in building upon our two-way trade," said Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority. "We believe we offer unique opportunities for connecting the world with a region of more than 10 million residents and which hosts some 80 million visitors a year. As we increase these productive commercial ties, we augment Port Manatee's already impressive positive impacts upon our region's socioeconomic wellbeing."
Port Manatee's executive director, Carlos Buqueras, commented, "Through the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee, we continue to proactively engage leaders of commerce from around the globe, together realizing the mutual benefits of expanded trade."
Over the past several months, Port Manatee and its trade hub also have hosted high-level representatives of such diverse nations as Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland and Spain.
Located "Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico," Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.
Martín de Antueno, deputy consul of Argentina, discusses trade opportunities with Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras, who places his hand on a piece of aluminum imported into Port Manatee from Argentina.