Looking for more efficiency, the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce is setting up professional committees
E-Toile: Christophe Maincourt, one of your commitments as the new president of the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce in Miami was to boost the professional committees. Can you give us an update?
Christophe Maincourt: One of my goals is to expand the scope of activity for our companies by facilitating exchanges with the local business community.
I believe in inter-professional co-operation and, therefore, I am promoting the setup of this type of committee, with members of the Chamber and leading experts in their own field at the top of the organization.
These committees will be the place for a better inter-personal relation between professionals, the opportunity of an exchange of views, information and concerns and the panel for future action plans.
One of my references is the aeronautic committee, presided over Raphael Bolzan, Head of Latecoëre International. This group of professionals, sometime competitors, meets every month in order to discuss the sector’s current affairs.
The luxury goods committee was a great help for me when I first came to Miami in 1996.
This is why I wanted to restart and structure the idea. Nevertheless, each committee has to be built and we approach this step by step. We work in partnership with the French Consulate in Miami because it is important to co-ordinate our task with the relevant French public organizations in charge of trade and investments.
Most of the committees are now in order and I would like to thank those of you who have accepted to take responsibilities in the process. Having doubled our membership, we will have more participants in these groups, which, by the way, are supposed to recruit new members and facilitate the integration of newcomers.
e-Toile: Each of the committees underlines an aspect of the French economic and commercial presence in South Florida and points to the French savoir-faire Mr Frédéric Lefebvre, French Minister for Trade, Crafts, Small and Medium Enterprises was talking about in Miami a few weeks ago…
Christophe Maincourt: “Wine, Spirits and Gastronomy” is an obvious priority. It is one of the pillars of our living commercial and cultural patrimony.
Nevertheless, the sector suffers from an unfavourable gap between the local economic reality and its perception.
This committee, run by Hubert Surville, member of the Chamber as well as French Foreign trade Advisor, will promote this activity, particularly during “French Spice”, an event which is part of “French Week Miami” (November 1 to 25, 2012).
Miami events’ calendar and the opening of Sea Trade 2012 is an opportunity to open the “Cruise Line” committee with Jean-Serge Martins. It will play the role of a platform of information and business contacts for French companies dealing with this industry, for which Miami is the World capital city. This is another strategic choice for us.
With Patricia Bona, I personally supervise the luxury goods committee, a group of 25 professionals who meet every 6 weeks.
A French presence in this sector which goes back to the 60’, first to manage distribution in Latin America and the Caribbean and now because Miami has become a strong market for these products.
The development of the retail activity combined with new localisations, like the Design District in Miami provide tremendous opportunities. Finally, Orlando is the headquarter of the Duty Free Convention for the US, being held right now.
e-Toile: The local economy seems to be in better shape with the exception of the real estate industry. Any comment from the President of the Chamber of Commerce?
Christophe Maincourt: Our goal is to harmonize our actions with the commercial and cultural opportunities this city has to offer.
Miami is bustling with an exceptional energy and home of great and emerging talents.
Beside traditional activities like tourism, construction and real estate, we have to add services (financial, health, education, transport…) as well as biotechnology (which is one of my priorities). On the other hand, Miami, with its creative force measured by the increasing popularity of Miami Art Basel and other artistic and cultural events, is becoming a world reference.
This is a new opportunity for talented professionals in the field of entertainment, consumer goods, IT and communication. Lately, we have welcomed new members at the Chamber and we are discussing the idea of launching a specific committee.