Companies Urged to Tap Growth of 4 Powers; Local Leaders Have Their Eyes on Brazil, Russia, India and China

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID HUNT

Combined, the four countries have more than a third of the world's population and nearly a quarter of its land.

Perhaps more important to the hundreds of local business people gathered downtown on Tuesday, those four countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- have rapidly emerging economies cutting into the world marketplace.

Jacksonville, with its expanding port system and growing international business connections, stands a chance to profit. The question is how.

"I'm impressed, but I hope your track shoes have good spikes because we're going to have to run even faster," said John Doggett, an economics researcher and senior business lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin.

Doggett was keynote speaker at the Jacksonville Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership's quarterly luncheon.

He talked about how the four countries, which he abbreviates as BRIC, are positioning themselves to overhaul global economics.

"We're looking at a world none of us could have imagined five years ago," Doggett said.

Jacksonville Port Authority Executive Director Rick Ferrin said the concept of global change is increasingly familiar, but Doggett's perspective -- examining everything from automobile and cell phone ownership in the countries to Brazil's expanding aviation manufacturing sector -- was eye-opening.

Ferrin said Jacksonville's port, which recently opened its first line to Asia, will be crucial to keeping the First Coast competitive. …