Section 288.012, Florida Statutes 2009
288.012 State of Florida foreign offices.--The Legislature finds that the expansion of international trade and tourism is vital to the overall health and growth of the economy of this state. This expansion is hampered by the lack of technical and business assistance, financial assistance, and information services for businesses in this state. The Legislature finds that these businesses could be assisted by providing these services at State of Florida foreign offices. The Legislature further finds that the accessibility and provision of services at these offices can be enhanced through cooperative agreements or strategic alliances between state entities, local entities, foreign entities, and private businesses.
(1) The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development is authorized to:
(a) Establish and operate offices in foreign countries for the purpose of promoting the trade and economic development of the state, and promoting the gathering of trade data information and research on trade opportunities in specific countries.
(b) Enter into agreements with governmental and private sector entities to establish and operate offices in foreign countries containing provisions which may be in conflict with general laws of the state pertaining to the purchase of office space, employment of personnel, and contracts for services. When agreements pursuant to this section are made which set compensation in foreign currency, such agreements shall be subject to the requirements of s. 215.425, but the purchase of foreign currency by the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development to meet such obligations shall be subject only to s. 216.311.
(2) Each foreign office shall have in place an operational plan approved by the participating boards or other governing authority, a copy of which shall be provided to the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development. These operating plans shall be reviewed and updated each fiscal year and shall include, at a minimum, the following:
(a) Specific policies and procedures encompassing the entire scope of the operation and management of each office.
(b) A comprehensive, commercial strategic plan identifying marketing opportunities and industry sector priorities for the foreign country or area in which a foreign office is located.
(c) Provisions for access to information for Florida businesses through the Florida Trade Data Center. Each foreign office shall obtain and forward trade leads and inquiries to the center on a regular basis.
(d) Identification of new and emerging market opportunities for Florida businesses. Each foreign office shall provide the Florida Trade Data Center with a compilation of foreign buyers and importers in industry sector priority areas on an annual basis. In return, the Florida Trade Data Center shall make available to each foreign office, and to Enterprise Florida, Inc., the Florida Commission on Tourism, the Florida Ports Council, the Department of State, the Department of Citrus, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, trade industry, commodity, and opportunity information. This information shall be provided to such offices and entities either free of charge or on a fee basis with fees set only to recover the costs of providing the information.
(e) Provision of access for Florida businesses to the services of the Florida Trade Data Center, international trade assistance services provided by state and local entities, seaport and airport information, and other services identified by the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development.
(f) Qualitative and quantitative performance measures for each office, including, but not limited to, the number of businesses assisted, the number of trade leads and inquiries generated, the number of foreign buyers and importers contacted, and the amount and type of marketing conducted.
(3) By October 1 of each year, each foreign office shall submit to the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development a complete and detailed report on its activities and accomplishments during the preceding fiscal year. In a format provided by Enterprise Florida, Inc., the report must set forth information on:
(a) The number of Florida companies assisted.
(b) The number of inquiries received about investment opportunities in this state.
(c) The number of trade leads generated.
(d) The number of investment projects announced.
(e) The estimated U.S. dollar value of sales confirmations.
(f) The number of representation agreements.
(g) The number of company consultations.
(h) Barriers or other issues affecting the effective operation of the office.
(i) Changes in office operations which are planned for the current fiscal year.
(j) Marketing activities conducted.
(k) Strategic alliances formed with organizations in the country in which the office is located.
(l) Activities conducted with other Florida foreign offices.
(m) Any other information that the office believes would contribute to an understanding of its activities.
(4) The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, in connection with the establishment, operation, and management of any of its offices located in a foreign country, is exempt from the provisions of ss. 255.21, 255.25, and 255.254 relating to leasing of buildings; ss. 283.33 and 283.35 relating to bids for printing; ss. 287.001-287.20 relating to purchasing and motor vehicles; and ss. 282.003-282.111 relating to communications, and from all statutory provisions relating to state employment.
(a) The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development may exercise such exemptions only upon prior approval of the Governor.
(b) If approval for an exemption under this section is granted as an integral part of a plan of operation for a specified foreign office, such action shall constitute continuing authority for the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development to exercise the exemption, but only in the context and upon the terms originally granted. Any modification of the approved plan of operation with respect to an exemption contained therein must be resubmitted to the Governor for his or her approval. An approval granted to exercise an exemption in any other context shall be restricted to the specific instance for which the exemption is to be exercised.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term "plan of operation" means the plan developed pursuant to subsection (2).
(d) Upon final action by the Governor with respect to a request to exercise the exemption authorized in this subsection, the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development shall report such action, along with the original request and any modifications thereto, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives within 30 days.
(5) Where feasible and appropriate, and subject to s. 288.1224(9), foreign offices established and operated under this section may provide one-stop access to the economic development, trade, and tourism information, services, and programs of the state. Where feasible and appropriate, and subject to s. 288.1224(9), such offices may also be collocated with other foreign offices of the state.
(6) The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development is authorized to make and to enter into contracts with Enterprise Florida, Inc., and the Florida Commission on Tourism to carry out the provisions of this section. The authority, duties, and exemptions provided in this section apply to Enterprise Florida, Inc., and the Florida Commission on Tourism to the same degree and subject to the same conditions as applied to the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development. To the greatest extent possible, such contracts shall include provisions for cooperative agreements or strategic alliances between state entities, foreign entities, local entities, and private businesses to operate foreign offices.
History.--s. 1, ch. 80-401; s. 1, ch. 82-115; ss. 3, 6, ch. 83-252; ss. 9, 10, ch. 88-201; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 89-150; s. 112, ch. 90-201; ss. 40, 44, ch. 90-335; s. 53, ch. 91-5; s. 9, ch. 92-277; s. 219, ch. 95-148; s. 30, ch. 96-320; s. 14, ch. 97-278; s. 80, ch. 99-251; s. 4, ch. 2000-208; s. 58, ch. 2001-61.