Florida’s top two foreign trading partners and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are sounding alarms about a new state law banning governments from hiring companies with business ties to Cuba.
The warnings from economic powerhouses Canada and Brazil pit mighty business interests against the Miami-Dade lawmakers who authored the bill and the majority of legislators who voted for it, placing Florida’s pro-business governor in a political bind.
The frustrated business lobbies have made their concerns known to Gov. Rick Scott, who has until May 5 to sign or veto the legislation, which was formally sent to him Friday. He could also let the measure become law without his signature.
Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson told The Miami Herald he received an unusual phone call from the office of the Canadian ambassador to the United States, which is concerned that the law would affect a slew of Canadian companies that work in both Florida and Cuba.
Wilson said the companies told the Canadian government “that they will not be making any more investments in Florida for fear they might get hit by this.”
Canada is one of Florida’s largest trading partners, second only to Brazil — whose similar complaints about the law have gone all the way to Washington.
Brazilian Minister of Trade and Industry Fernando Pimentel brought up Florida House Bill 959 earlier this month with U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who told him the administration could not do anything until the state legislation becomes law, according to a Brazilian official.