Today, the Miami Customs District is one of the top 10 in the U.S., as companies from throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia take advantage of Miami-Dade’s strategic hemispheric location to connect with trading partners around the world. (According to the Beacon Council).


Miami-Dade County is a global center for international trade, and both imports and exports have been rising in recent years.

Miami is far more than just South America’s shopping mall. From its Latin American headquarters in Miami, the telecommunications giant AT&T covers one-third of the world, reaching as far as South America and sub-Saharan Africa. All the major record companies have Latin offices in Miami, and dozens of Spanish-language magazines are based there. General Motors, Latin America’s No. 2 automaker, moved its Latin headquarters from Sao Paulo to Miami two years ago. Disney moved its Latin American consumer-products office from Mexico City; Inter-Continental Hotels moved its base for the Americas down from New York, and Iberia Airlines left Los Angeles. Miami’s success has been its ability to use its immigrant population to offer American products and business savvy in a Latin environment. “As the Western Hemisphere becomes more Hispanic, Miami has become the frontier city between ‘America’ and Latin America,” explains Guillermo Grenier, the Cuban-born head of FIU’s sociology department. The city offers not just trade but also services that range from banking and insurance to medical care. Miami remains Latin America’s Wall Street, with about $25 billion in foreign deposits, but now Latin Americans also come for kidnap insurance and trendy laparoscopic surgery on their gallbladders.

With trade barriers falling and economies improving across Central and South America, economists are predicting that by the end of the decade, Latin America will be one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

Jose Suquet, the Cuban-born general manager of the Suquet insurance agency, notes that wealthy and sophisticated Latin American businessmen are now using Miami not just for hit-and-run business trips but also as a base of operations that offer a security they can’t find in their own countries. (Even Miami’s violent-crime rate pales by comparison with the kidnappings, terrorism and guerrilla warfare that many Latins face in cities like Rio de Janeiro, Medellin or Lima.) “Venezuelans, Brazilians and increasing numbers of Argentines are investing in Miami, developing hotels and purchasing malls,” says Suquet. “They are setting up businesses here, buying homes in Coral Gables or Cocoplum, sending their kids to Gulliver Academy or Belen Jesuit Preparatory School.”

The prevalence of Spanish language and culture has become a lure to Latin visitors, who freely call Miami the capital of Latin America. In the past 10 years the Cubans have been joined by Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Colombians, Guatemalans and Haitians. The Brazilians, who discovered Miami with a vengeance a few years ago, now jokingly call it “Brazil’s fastest growing city.” Last year they were so ubiquitous that Portuguese became the predominant language among shopkeepers in downtown Miami. This year it is the Argentines who have arrived in droves.

MIAMI HAS: More than 100 international consulates, trade offices, and bi-national chambers of commerce that support the worldwide flow of goods and services. Convenient direct air service from Miami International Airport to all major destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. More flights to the region than any other U.S. airport. Ability to ship goods efficiently anywhere in the world through the Port of Miami, Florida’s largest container port. A central location in the Western Hemisphere and in the Eastern time zone, facilitating communications with Europe and the western United States. Ready access to sophisticated international banking, insurance and legal services, and other professional services. If you want to acquire new business in Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and Globally then you should exhibit in IMMEXLS.