Trade officials from eight countries attend a recent meeting with Port Manatee representatives to discuss trade. ( Photo courtesy Port Manatee )

A recent gathering of trade officials from eight countries are a good signal for increased international commerce, according to Port Manatee officials in Palmetto, Fla.

Representatives from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Spain, which constitute the majority of board membership of the International Trade Commissioners of Florida (INTRADE), were involved in the Feb. 22 meeting.

“Port Manatee already plays an important role in handling Colombian imports and exports, as well as substantial trade with other INTRADE country members, and clearly offers prospects for significant additional international commerce,” Juan Barrerra, deputy director for the U.S. of ProColombia USA and INTRADE president, said in a news release.

The meeting was hosted by the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee, which opened in 2014. Since then, it has been instrumental in expanding global trade, and in recent months has been visited by trade officials and business leaders from numerous countries, according to the release.

“Expanding commercial ties with these countries will help strengthen Port Manatee’s position as a vital economic engine for Manatee County while connecting global interests with the fast-growing consumer base of Central and Southwest Florida,” Manatee County Port Authority Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh said in the release.