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Politics

Business 'Strategy' of Rick Scott Scores Well in London

August 22, 2012 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scotts six foreign trade missions since taking office last year, including the Enterprise Florida junket to London earlier this summer, may have helped score Florida some good overseas ink.

fDi Intelligence magazine, a division of The Financial Times Ltd., praised Scott for his drive to improve the business culture in the Sunshine State.

Mr Scotts efforts in the field of economic development are as unorthodox as some of his political speeches (such as his lecture on the importance of reforming the car personal injury protection system, delivered earlier this year to a group of primary school pupils), but they bring results, fDi Intelligence wrote in an Aug. 10 piece on Americas governors.

The magazine ranked Scott first for strategy and promotion, and fourth overall in terms of business approach.

Mr Scott believes that the best way to attract business is to talk business, fDi noted. And talking he does, given that since he assumed office in January 2011 he has delivered 22 presentations to more than 2,100 executives and met with CEOs from 57 foreign companies.

The magazine noted that in March, Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, announced the expansion of its Florida-based operations, bringing 200 new engineering jobs with an estimated average salary of $70,000.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was first overall in no small part to his pro-business approach which has helped to create 300,000 new jobs in the state in the past three years.

The article came out a month after Scott headed an 86-strong delegation to the Farnborough International Airshow, one of the largest aviation industry trade events in the world.

Gray Swoope, president of Enterprise Florida, the public-private business arm of the state which paid for Scotts portion of the trips, defended the economics of the trade missions and said more are needed for long-term impacts.

Were an international-driven state, Swoope said following his appearance before the Economic Club of Florida in Tallahassee on Tuesday.

Whether you want to look at it from a trade standpoint, a foreign investment standpoint, look at where our jobs are coming from -- a lot of it is international.

Im not going to share the companies we met with (in England), but for (Scott) to sit down CEO to CEO, with over 40 different companies in a matter of three days, we accomplished a lot, Swoope added.

Prior to the London trip, that includes sit-downs with insurance giant Lloyds of London and a number of unnamed corporate executives, Scott headed missions to Spain, Panama Canada, Brazil and Israel.

Another trip is in the works for Colombia later this year.

As governor, Ive led six trade and business development missions with the single purpose of increasing Floridas international investment and trade and getting Florida back on the right track, Scott stated in a release Tuesday that highlighted the states improving employment outlook over the past year-and-a-half.

As more companies invest in Florida, there will be more jobs for Floridians.

With unemployment at 8.8 percent in July, the mark is down 2.3 percentage points since just before Scott took office.

Overall, Floridas long-term trend is positive, Scott stated in the release. Florida companies have added 130,300 more private-sector jobs than we had in December 2010.We are focused on making Florida the best place to grow private-sector jobs.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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