August 31, 2009

S. Florida’s international slump

Import and export businesses in South Florida saw a sharp decline in business in the first five months of the year, the Miami Customs District said.

In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, importers and exporters saw a decline of $6.4 billion in sales or 14.7 percent, January through May, compared to the same period in 2008, The Miami Herald said Monday.

In South Florida, 850,000 jobs are linked to import and export businesses. The region includes 44,000 exporters, the newspaper said.

General Ceramic Tile & Stone, an import business, has followed the trend of the construction sector. As construction has dwindled, so has the call for imported tile. Business is off 40 percent this year, owner Diego Acosta said.

Business is down further than that at Export-America Co., a small firm that sells replacement parts for machinery to Latin American companies.

Our providers don't give credit, and customers can't get financing, operations manager Michael Martinez told the Herald. For small business, credit is not there, and that has affected our business drastically.