July, 2012

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Hundreds of Business Leaders Pack Reception with Mayor Nutter

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce said ‘this is how to grow international business’ and 300 people showed up in agreement. So on one of the steamiest days of the summer, the region’s business leaders were not at the beach. They made sure to be seen and heard at the International Business Networking Reception, sponsored by the Chilean & American Chamber, featuring Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter.

Obviously impressed by the sizeable gathering, the mayor regaled the crowd with his impeccably timed sense of humor, which he doesn’t get enough credit for. In addition to the wry wit and laughter, Philadelphia’s serious status as an international city on the cutting edge of business development was the evening’s main topic. Nutter said encouraging new investment and commercial trade between Philadelphia and the rest of the world is a top priority. He outlined his plans to keep Philadelphia in the highest echelons of U-S destinations for foreign investments.

“Philadelphia has eight sister cities around the world,” said Nutter, “and no Philadelphia mayor has ever visited any of them. I intend to change that in the next three and a half years.” He announced ambitious plans to bring more international business to Philadelphia. Nutter said he was impressed with the many accomplishments of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce [CACCGP].

Asked about the Chamber’s highly effective ‘Chilean model’ Nutter said, “Part of the key to the great success of the Chilean & American Chamber is a great focus on the business side of things. They know how to keep people active within the Chamber, look at this tremendous turnout, and there’s an increasing amount of activity from Chilean companies. They also have the vision to understand there are great business opportunities in Philly and the region. Our commerce department has a great working relationship with the Chamber.” Asked about the exceptionally close relations between Chile and CACCGP, the mayor said, “We are very fortunate in Philadelphia that we are a great port-of-call for the Chilean fruits and other goods, many of which come through the port of Philadelphia bound for the rest of the United States. We recognize that Chile is a country that is part of the economic vitality of Philadelphia and we want that to grow. It’s my job to make sure those relationships are strong and consistent and as mayor, I have to do a fair amount of outreach. The great thing about the Chilean and American Chamber is that they reach out as well and it is a great partnership.” Nutter also said he is making plans to visit Chile.

The guest list and sponsors were a veritable Who’s Who and United Nations of international business in Philadelphia. Members of the French, Swedish, Irish, Israel, Italy, German and Chilean-American Chambers joined with the Japan American Society and the British Business Council of Philadelphia, listening intently as Mayor Nutter extolled the very real virtues of Philadelphia’s cultural and economic advantages. He also noted the city’s lucky location between New York and Washington, D. C. Nutter said by taking the train, he has traveled to and conducted business in all three cities, arriving back in Philly before the close of business the very same day.

The sambas and jazz rumbas decanted by the band were the perfect complement to the vast array of wines from Chile. The level of entertainment on all fronts was made clear by the large number of people who stayed well past the invitation’s appointed hours. This was clearly the place to be.

The sold-out event was held at The Hub Cira Center, overlooking the city skyline, a particularly pleasing scene for Robert Palaima, the President of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. Addressing the big crowd, he said the enthusiasm inside was higher than the temperatures outside. Detailing why the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce is so strong, he said, “We have so many ties to Chile. First is the fruit trade in our region and now other commodities as well. Mining equipment, rare earths, minerals like copper, the salmon aquaculture and the Wines of Chile which you see here tonight. We are also planning to have former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet come here for an official visit in her new capacity as United Nations High Commissioner for Women. Plans are also well underway for our annual ‘Friend of Chile Awards Dinner’ at the Union League, honoring David Schiro of Jac. Vandenberg Incorporated and the Bacchanal Committee of the Pennsylvania academy of Fine Arts will be getting the Pablo Neruda Award for their efforts to promote international cooperation and their impressive support of the wines of Chile.”

John E. Mallough, Sr. of OHL International, the freight forward experts, said, “We are committed to the Port of Philadelphia. Our relationship with the Chilean fruit export community goes back many decades and we are extremely pleased about that and our great comfort in Philadelphia. The spirit of cooperation you see in this room is magnificent. We all have one common goal, ‘Make it work.’ ”

Speaking of communication and synergy, Benjamin Leavenworth is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Chile to the Delaware Valley region and plays a vital role in both areas. From his purview which encompasses parts of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he has seen the tremendous growth of both the Republic and the Chilean & American Chamber. He talked about the special spirit of cooperation that extends from the Delaware Valley to Chile’s Colchagua Valley:

“It’s truly extraordinary. We’re looking at multi-generational relationships of business, families working together creating over ten thousand jobs in the Delaware Valley Region and 100, 000 jobs in Chile, with Aramark alone at 25, 000 jobs in Chile. There are also tens of thousands of related jobs in our area which all comes to over one billion dollars a year. We see each other as valuable partners. And that has been achieved through the work of the Chambers of Commerce you see here tonight. You have to have that kind of strong, visionary support to create that spirit of cooperation. And of course the king of all the chambers, in my humble opinion, is the Chilean & American. It is truly integral and dedicated to this exemplary bi-lateral relationship.”

Ricardo Maldonado is the Executive Director of the Chilean & American Chamber. Viewing both the capacity-crowd and turning to the windows overlooking a tributary to the Delaware River, he said, “This river flows into the Delaware the same way Chile’s products flow into Philadelphia. It’s a natural progression. We are part of a world culture that recognizes ‘excellence’ from all parts of the globe now and we’re able to share that excellence across oceans and continents. From everyone in this room, to the ports, ships and farmers in Chile, we are making things happen where there was once nothing. Much of the beautiful farm land of Chile today was desert only thirty years ago. We all share in the ideas that got the technology to irrigate their land, mine their minerals, develop their grape and olive crops, develop their international markets and ship their cargo. It is an exceptional partnership and both sides are made stronger, while sharing foods that strengthen the world.”