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Need for Speed- Around the World in 90 Minutes

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Join the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia for an evening of speed networking with global professionals at Philadelphia’s premier whiskey and go go bar – the Trestle Inn. Industry experts will lead a brief discussion about the importance of networking; how to pitch yourself and your business; and how to deliver the perfect elevator speech! Following introductory remarks attendees will rotate in small groups so each person has the opportunity to interact with every attendee. Bring plenty of business cards and be ready to ask and answer questions with executives representing various industry sectors with operations throughout the world.

Click here to register

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019

Time: 6-8:00pm

6-6:30pm: Registration & Networking
6:30-6:45pm: Introductions, Brief Remarks & Instructions
6:45-7:45pm: Speed Networking Session
7:45-8:00pm: Raffles & Close

Location: The Trestle Inn
339 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Member Individual Ticket: $45*
Non-Member Individual Ticket: $55*

*Includes presentations, speed networking, food & beverage

The 21st Annual “Friend of Chile” Award Luncheon

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce
21st Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon
Friday, November 30th, 2018
The Union League of Philadelphia

On Friday, November 30th, 2018, members and distinguished guests gathered in the historic Union League of Philadelphia for the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce (CACC) 21st Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon to honor individuals who have demonstrated great commitment in the trade partnership between Chile and the United States.


The event kicked off with networking and a Chilean wine reception. Shortly after, guests were escorted to their seats in Lincoln Hall to begin the luncheon and awards ceremony. CACC and Delaware River Stevedores President, Robert Palaima, was the first to take the podium. He began by complimenting the CACC and saying that it was the largest, most dynamic chamber in the tri-state region. He welcomed Delaware Secretary of State Jeffery Bullock and William H. Kopke Jr., Inc.’s Paul Wigand, the two award recipients of the day, Chile’s new Trade Commissioner, Matías Pinto Pimentel, and the luncheon’s sponsors before introducing Benjamin Leavenworth, the Honorary Consul of Chile here in Philadelphia.


Leavenworth started off his remarks by thanking the CACC for organizing the event and congratulating the award winners on the day for their great work in trade between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia Region. Leavenworth then gave an anecdote about a recent visit of his to Chile where he visited farms and was impressed by how much Chile has grown through agriculture—this of course being relevant due to the large amount of Chilean fresh fruit that comes into the United States through the ports of the tri-state region.


Following Leavenworth, Palaima stepped back up to the podium to introduce CACC Treasurer Miriam Borja-Fisher of Western Fumigation and Barbara Hunter of BHA Consults. Borja-Fisher thanked everyone for coming and then presented Hunter, who gave remarks in memory of the late Albert S. Marulli for the dedication of CACC Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor. Hunter thanked the guests in attendance and the members of the Marulli family, many of whom were present at the event. Hunter described “Al,” as everyone referred to him, as a “giant” of a man despite his small stature. She said, “I could write a book about Al,” as the two had worked closely for many years. Marulli is considered by many to the “father” of the Chilean fresh fruit here in the U.S. According to Hunter, he was a man who fought for what he believed in… and he believed in Chile. To receive the plaque, made to show the award’s dedication to Marulli, was his eldest son, Tony.


Tony made his way up to the podium and spoke powerful words about the man his father was. Marulli was a man who did not like recognition. He had turned down, on numerous occasions, the opportunity to be honored throughout his life. Therefore, Tony said that the way the CACC chose to honor his father was perfect, and thanked the Chamber for honoring him in this manner.

Next to the podium was Leo Holt of Holt Logistics. Leo gave a brief introduction to Peter Kopke Sr. of William H. Kopke Jr., Inc., the man who was to present Paul Wigand, also of William H. Kopke Jr., Inc., with the first Albert S. Marulli Lifetime Achievement Award. Kopke spoke very highly of Wigand, saying that he has always been a determined worker, becoming Kopke’s right-hand man. The two have traveled to Chile together every year for the last 38 years, giving them a tremendous amount of experience in the fresh fruit trade.


In his acceptance speech, Wigand mentioned how honored he was to be receiving the first Albert S. Marulli Lifetime Achievement Award because he had a tremendous respect for Marulli. Wigand went on to thank the CACC for their recognition of his work and said that the Philadelphia region is a tremendous home for the Chilean fresh fruit trade, and he hopes to see the business flourish in the coming years. Wigand finished on a touching note, thanking his own family and the Kopke family for the opportunity they had given him and walked off the stage to a standing ovation.


Following Wigand, guests enjoyed a delicious entrée and dessert, complimented by Chilean wine. Palaima then took the stage to introduce Eric Casey, CEO of GT USA Wilmington, to present Jeffery S. Bullock, Secretary of State of Delaware, with the “Friend of Chile” Award. Casey is fairly new to the area, but he said it did not take him long to realize the important work that Bullock has done and is continuing to do for the Delaware ports. He spoke of Secretary Bullock’s excitement about returning to Chile in the near future, and thanked Bullock for all that he has done.

Secretary Bullock was very gracious in his acceptance speech, thanking Gene Bailey of the Diamond State Port Corporation, the CACC and President Palaima, and Consul Leavenworth for their work promoting Chile in the region. Bullock said that he is very honored to have been part of the success between Chile and the Philadelphia region and is eager to see the continuation of great business between the two.


The 21st Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon would not have been possible without the help of its sponsors. The CACC would like to thank Visionary Sponsors: GT USA Wilmington, Holt Logistics and William H. Kopke Jr., Inc.; Presenting Sponsors: Western Fumigation and Diamond State Port Corporation; and Corporate Table Sponsors: Aramark, Dayka & Hackett, Dole, Delaware River Stevedores, GEODIS USA, Giumarra International Marketing, J&K Fresh East, Manfredi Cold Storage, Murphy Marine Services, PhilaPort, Pilots’ Association for Bay & River Delaware, RPS / Royal Fumigation, Sbrocco International and Tastyfrutti International.


Additionally, the CACC would like to extend its thanks to the Union League of Philadelphia for the outstanding venue and delicious food.

To see more photos from the event, visit our Flickr page.

20th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon: Honoree Spotlight

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

20th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon
Friday, November 17, 2017
The Union League of Philadelphia | 140 South Broad Street | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chilean Wine Tasting & Reception 11:30 a.m.
Luncheon & Awards Celebration 12:00 Noon

Receiving the 20th Annual “Friend of Chile” Award: The Honorable Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf grew up in south central Pennsylvania in a small town in York County, where he continues to live today.

Tom studied Government while Dartmouth College.  Before graduation, Tom decided to join the Peace Corps where he would serve two years in a small village in India.  After his service, Tom returned to Dartmouth College to finish his undergraduate degree, and would later go on to earn graduate degrees from both the University of London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tom was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor on January 20, 2015, and has since devoted himself to working tirelessly to help the people of the state of Pennsylvania.

In addition to his work with the middle class, education, and healthcare, Tom’s economic development team has made major accomplishments in regards to Pennsylvania business relocation and expansion projects.

Last November, Governor Wolf announced plans to invest $300 million in the Port of Philadelphia as part of a comprehensive Capital Investment Program. This investment works to improve the port’s facilities, and therefore invest in our region’s trade partnership with Chile. Tom’s belief in the Port of Philadelphia has allowed the port to double its container capacity and increased its capability to work more efficiently with more opportunities for growth in the future, all while creating thousands of jobs in the process.

The investment is one of the largest among east coast ports and raises Philadelphia’s prominence in the shipping world. Chile is the Port of Philadelphia’s 5th top trade partner; from January to August in 2016 trade with Chile rose 3.05 percent to over $850 million. With the new improvements and expansion to the Port of Philadelphia, the region’s trade with Chile and the economic benefits associated with commerce will only continue to rise.

Receiving the 2017 “Lifetime Achievement” Award: Robert Palaima, President of Delaware River Stevedores, Inc.

As President of Delaware River Stevedores, Inc., Robert W. Palaima has forged his company into a vital force along both sides of the Delaware River.  Deeply committed to the success of the Ports of Camden, Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Robert has played a significant role in negotiating labor agreements to dramatically increase port competitiveness.

A native of Chicago, Robert attended Colgate University as a War Memorial Scholar, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Since 1988 he has worked for Delaware River Stevedores, Inc. (DRS), becoming President in 1990.  He was responsible for leading his company into dramatic reorganization in 1992, transforming it into a major stevedore of bulk, breakbulk, perishable and containerized cargoes.

In 1993, Robert was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a recipient of the inaugural Forty Under Forty award.  In 1997, he received the Scout Mariner Award from the Cradle of Liberty Council, Boys Scouts of America; in 1998, he was honored as Man of the Year by the Port of Philadelphia Maritime Society.  In 2000 he was honored by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey for his work in the Port of Camden and in 2007 he was the recipient of the Friend of Chile Award from the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce, where he presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  The Traffic Club of Philadelphia named him Person of the Year in 2013 and most recently, he received The Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award from The Chapel of Four Chaplains.

Long active in civic and maritime affairs, Robert serves on the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Maritime Society and the Board of Managers of the Seamen’s Church Institute.  He also chairs the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association, served on Liberty Mutual’s PA Advisory Board as well as on the Board of Governors of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, and has helped raise scholarship funds for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Among his accomplishments, Robert has been a key player in retaining important commodities for the Port including cocoa beans, Chilean fruit, steel, plywood, wood pulp, automobiles, and project cargoes.

For more information or to register for this event, click here.

Philly X Chile: Meet the Tech Innovators of Chile

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Philly X Chile: Meet the Tech Innovators of Chile
A Chile Week USA Event
Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

On Wednesday, October 26th the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia was proud to hold a successful and informative program entitled Philly X Chile: Meet the Tech Innovators of Chile as part of Chile Week USA. Throughout the evening, guests savored Chilean wine and a variety of hors d’oeuvres and were engaged by the presentations of the Chilean Tech Executives from Chile: Ulbaldo Taladriz, Cristian Ferrer and Martin Lewit.

Honorary Consul of Chile for Philadelphia, Benjamin Leavenworth, opened the program to welcome all of the esteemed guests and made special note that the visiting Chilean tech companies were not start-ups, but stable and mature tech companies located in Latin America’s innovation hub- Santiago, Chile. The tech innovators introduced each of their unique tech companies and described many important aspects of Chile’s growth as an important international destination for the tech industry. Chile’s fastest growing outsourcing market, high quality performance at competitive costs, and the similar business culture shared between our two regions were just a handful of the points discussed through the evening.

The first tech representative to present was Ulbaldo Taladriz, who is the CEO of EXE, an IT innovative solutions company, and the Vice President of Chiletec, a group of companies developing technology with the mission to grow the technology industry in Chile.  Martin Lewit, CEO of KI Teknology, an innovative digital development company that offers services including software, web and mobile design for enhanced user experience, immediately followed.  Lastly,Cristian Ferrer, the marketing development manager of Tecnova, a company dedicated to consulting, custom software development and integration of IT solutions described his company to guests.

Robert Palaima, President & Chairman of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, ended the program portion of the evening with great thanks to the Chilean tech innovators for partnering with the Chilean Chamber and sponsoring the event.

The evening continued with networking and discussion graciously stimulated by the delicious Chilean wines of Viña Santa Carolina. This slice of Chile Week was revered as eye opening for the potential tech relationship between Philadelphia and Chile by not only the attendees, but also all of the Chilean Tech Innovators that look forward to continuing their partnership with the CACC.



The CACC’s 19th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon

Monday, November 7th, 2016

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce
19th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon
Friday, October 28th, 2016
The Union League of Philadelphia

Friday, October 28th, marked a very special day for the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.  Philadelphia was chosen as the final stop for Chile Week USA, an important delegation of political and business leaders from Chile’s public and private sectors who spent five days in Philadelphia, Miami, and New York City during the last week of October.

Members, friends, honorees, and the special Chilean Delegation gathered in the Lincoln Memorial Room of the historic Union League of Philadelphia to kick off the 19th Annual Friend of Chile Awards Luncheon with a refreshing Chilean wine reception. Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley and Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley were generously provided by Santa Carolina Winery and Wines of Chile USA. Vina Santa Carolina, originally founded in 1875, is currently Chile’s third largest wine brand and winner of Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 New World Winery of the Year.

Guests continued to enjoy the wine selections as Robert Palaima, President and Chairman of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, welcomed guests into Lincoln Hall to officially begin the luncheon and awards ceremony.

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce was fortunate to host special guests from Chile, including His Excellency, Juan Gabriel Valdes, Ambassador of Chile to the United States and Ronald Bown F., Chairman of the Board of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association. Both leaders gave remarks that  emphasized the importance of the relationship between the Greater Philadelphia Region and the United States.  Ambassador Valdes, who has partnered with the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce for a multitude of events in 2016, described the acute location of our region’s ports, highlighting that the 11-county area is one day’s drive from 70 percent of the U.S. population.  This, coupled with the fact that Philadelphia is one of the most cost-effective urban areas in the country, makes the Delaware River ports the most efficient partner for Chile’s exports.

Following Ambassador Valdes, Miriam Borja-Fisher and Kurt Reichert of Western Fumigation took the stage to formally present their longtime colleague, Barbara Hunter of BHA Consults, LLC, with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Hunter, who received the Friend of Chile Award 16 years ago, has long been an advocate for the Chilean fruit business in the Delaware River Port Community.  Some of her accomplishments include the creation of The Food Safety and Security Program for port terminals, serving as Director and member of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay’s Executive Committee, and her current role in serving as an active member of both the CBP-AG Working Group and the USDA Treatment Fee Task Force. Hunter attributed her dedication to her profession to the dynamic Chilean business culture, remarking that “working with Chile is never boring.”

After guests enjoyed the Chilean-inspired meal, Robert Palaima introduced Ronald Bown to the stage to give special greetings to the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce and attendees on behalf of the delegation and his organization, ASOEX. Bown took this time to recognize six key individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact on the Chilean trade relationship between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia Region.  These influential award recipients included: Gene Bailey, Executive Director of the Port of Wilmington; Leo Holt, President of Holt Logistics Corp.; David Holzworth, Senior Counsel of Holzworth & Kato, PC; Benjamin Leavenworth, Honorary Consul of Chile; Robert Palaima, President of Delaware River Stevedores, Inc. and President & Chairman of the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce; and Jeff Theobald, Chief Executive Office, Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.

Immediately after Bowns’ award presentation, Palaima returned to the podium to introduce Leo Holt, President of Holt Logistics Corp. and Visionary Sponsor of the luncheon, to formally present the 19th Annual Friend of Chile Award to Senator Stephen Sweeney.  Holt reminisced of days when Senator Sweeney, current Vice President of the International Association of Iron Workers, and his father worked through extreme conditions to build the infrastructure of Gloucester Marine Terminal, which has served as a point of entry for many hundreds of millions of boxes of fresh Chilean fruit and other products over many decades.  Senator Sweeney, the Senate President of New Jersey and representative of the state’s Third Legislative District since 2002, accepted the award with great thanks to the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. He devoted his hard work in Gloucester to creating jobs and supporting the port industry—two things he has always been an advocate for.

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce’s 19th Annual Friend of Chile Awards Luncheon would not have been possible without the support of many generous sponsors including ASOEX and ProChile, the Presenting Partners of the luncheon; Holt Logistics Corp., the Visionary Sponsor of the event; Presenting Sponsors Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, The Port of Wilmington, Delaware, Tastyfrutti International, Inc., and Western Fumigation; Wines of Chile and Santa Carolina, the wine sponsors for all of the Chilean & American Chamber’s Chile Week events; and Corporate Table Sponsors Dayka & Hackett LLC, Delaware River Stevedores, Inc., GEODIS USA, Inc., Giumarra International Marketing, J&K Fresh East, div. of 721 Logistics, Manfredi Cold Storage & Distribution, Mattioni, Ltd., Murphy Marine Services, Inc., Ports of Delaware River Marine Trade Association, RPS / Royal Fumigation, Sbrocco International Inc., and William H. Kopke, Jr., Inc.

Special thanks to the Chilean Delegation for including Philadelphia in the Chile Week USA agenda, and thank you to all members and friends who participated in any of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce’s Chile Week events.

The CACC’s collaboration with Chile Week USA was proudly featured in Metro Philly, The Packer, and Philadelphia Business Journal.



19th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Honorees

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

19th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon
Friday, October 28th, 2016
The Union League of Philadelphia | 140 South Broad Street | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chilean Wine Tasting & Reception 11:30 a.m.
Luncheon & Awards Celebration 12:00 Noon

Receiving the 19th Annual “Friend of Chile” Award: Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, Senate President of New Jersey

Senator Stephen M. Sweeney has served as President of the New Jersey Senate since 2010. He has been a leader on the most important state issues, passing laws to increase the minimum wage, allowing Paid Family Leave, establishing marriage equality, setting a two-percent cap on annual property tax increases, and promoting equal educational opportunity through the Dream Act.

Senator Sweeney has fought to create jobs and economic opportunity for everyone. He sponsored bills to provide economic incentives for job creation, to create new jobs and job training for the unemployed, and to restore tax cuts for the working poor. Recognizing the importance of transportation infrastructure to the state’s economy, he has been a leader on renewing funding for the Transportation Trust Fund. He continues to work to make college more affordable and reduce college debt for New Jersey’s students and middle-class families.

Senator Sweeney has taken a leading role in promoting property tax relief and making government operate more effectively and more efficiently. He also helped build schools for special needs children, established parks for children with disabilities, and sponsored and created a statewide registry of offenders who abused individuals with developmental disabilities.

Senator Sweeney has represented the Third Legislative District since 2002.

Receiving the 2016 “Lifetime Achievement” Award: Barbara Hunter, BHA Consults, LLC

Barbara Hunter’s commitment and dedication to the Chilean Fruit Industry is well known and marked with numerous recognitions including being one of the first Friend of Chile recipients 16 years ago. After ending a long career with Western Industries, today Barbara continues to be actively involved in the Delaware River Port community. As a Director and member of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay’s Executive Committee, Barbara continues to be an advocate for Chilean interests. Currently she is an active member of both the CBP-AG Working Group and the USDA Treatment Fee Task Force.

In 2012, forming her own company Barbara became a consultant for Western where she had been affiliated for more than 40 years before her departure earlier this year. Prior to joining Western Industries in 1976, as Marketing Director, Ms. Hunter was the Director of Consumer Affairs for the National Pest Management Association, in Washington, DC.   In 1980 she was became Western’s Director of Imported Commodities as a result of her work with the Cocoa trade; and her deep involvement with the Chilean fruit business, which she attracted to Western in 1979. Having traveled extensively during her career throughout Central and South America, her first trip to Chile occurred in 1983. That was the beginning of a long and enduring respect for Chilean fruit growers, shippers and all those in the import and export process.

An innovator and a steadfast champion for Chilean Fruit interests, one of her endeavors was the creation of The Food Safety and Security Program for port terminals. That program was initiated just prior to the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. This was the first program of its type in the country, and it positioned the port terminals where Western provided USDA Quarantine treatments, to take a leadership role in the new security measures to come which would impact port operations.

For her tireless efforts in the Delaware River Ports Ms. Hunter has garnered many awards and recognitions. She has been sought out for interviews, written articles and has been a featured speaker for many industry groups.


Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with 11 of Philadelphia’s International chambers and organizations, hosted the Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception on Thursday, July 14, 2016, as Philly’s finest headed to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)for an evening full of networking.

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

Guests enjoyed elegant hors d’oeuvresand cocktails and admired the modern artwork on display before being escorted into PAFA’s spacious Annenberg Gallery for brief remarks. Robert Palaima, President and Chairman of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the program by welcoming everyone to the 6th edition of the Summer International Business Networking Reception.  Elizabeth Racheva, Vice President of Major Gifts of PAFA, then gave a short address to guests, briefing the remarkable history of PAFA and reminding everyone of the artistic power residing in Philadelphia.

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

Harold Epps, the City of Philadelphia’s Director of Commerce, was this year’s keynote speaker. A professional with 30 years of corporate experience, Epps acutely described Philadelphia’s position in the international market, touching on some of the city’s anticipated developments, including the installation of new ports and Philadelphia’s Export Plan. He spoke of untapped potential within Philadelphia and encouraged the international business community to unite together, stressing that “collaboration is key.”

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

The program closed with a raffle of exciting prizes including a Chilean Carmenere, a French Rose, a PAFA membership, club level seats to a Philadelphia Union match, tickets to the Irish American Business Chamber Ambassador’s Awards Luncheon, and a golf certificate for NACC Philadelphia’s Annual Golf Outing.

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

Presenting Partners of the Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception included: the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, French-American Chamber of Commerce, German American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Irish American Business Chamber & Network, Inc., Italy-America Business Council and Network, Mid-Atlantic – Eurasia Business Council, Norwegian- American Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce, and Select Greater Philadelphia.

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

The event would not have been possible without the generous support of the evening’s Corporate Sponsors, RPS/ Royal Fumigation and Saint Joseph’s University- Erivan K. Haub School of Business.

Thank you to all partners, sponsors, and guests who made the Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception an undisputed success once again.

Summer 2016 International Business Networking Reception

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile – April 27, 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile
Wine Tasting and Dinner
April 27, 2016
Hotel du Pont
Wilmington, DE

On Wednesday, April 27th, the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce (CACC) hosted the 11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile Wine Tasting and Dinner, an evening full of delicious Chilean food and wine. The night began with a reception and Chilean wine tasting before everyone was escorted into the Hotel du Pont’s Gold Ballroom for dinner and the award ceremony.

CACC President Robert Palaima opened the evening’s program with a warm welcome, thanking all attendees for their continued support of the Chamber and recognizing special guests in attendance before introducing Presenting Sponsor, Leo Holt of Holt Logistics to the stage. Holt began his introduction to the Chilean Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdes, by accrediting him for his great work in the face of the difficult Chilean season. He accredited Ambassador Valdes for “opening the window” to Chile as a major partner and gateway for growth along the Delaware River.

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

Ambassador Valdes approached the stage with gratitude and pride in the Philadelphia-Chile relationship; he had just been visiting Philadelphia a few weeks prior and saw firsthand the region’s appreciation for the strong bond. Ambassador Valdes informed the audience that the Delaware and Philadelphia ports receive more than half of Chile’s fresh food exports and that the United States is Chile’s second largest trade partner.  He closed by emphasizing the importance of enhancing the relationship by not just quantity, but also quality, and invited everyone to participate in the upcoming Chile Week to be held in Philadelphia, New York and Miami in October 2016.

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner of fresh Chilean salmon provided by Agrosuper USA while listening to festive live music.  After dessert, the program continued with Presenting Sponsor, Anne Bookout of Royal Fumigation, who remarked how proud her company is to continually support the Chamber’s mission and the annual Experience the Taste of Chile event.  Benjamin Leavenworth, Honorary Consul of Chile, mirrored Bookout’s praise of the Chamber and also described his appreciation for the support of APHIS, an agency which protects consumers while simultaneously guiding the powerful relationship between Chile and Philadelphia which ultimately strengthens the alliance. Leavenworth noted that the strong relationship between Greater Philadelphia and Chile was demonstrated through the recent visit from a Chilean Senatorial Delegation, led by Senator Garcia-Huidobro of the VI Region.

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

Following Leavenworth, Delaware’s Secretary of State, Jeffrey Bullock, took the stage and recounted the wonderful people, culture and geography of Chile after his recent and first trip to the country before welcoming to the podium Visionary Sponsor Miriam Borja-Fisher of Western Fumigation. In order to properly credit the USDA APHIS PPQ, Borja-Fisher spoke of the inauguration of CACC’s Visionary Award in 2012 to recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding work in building resilient international trade relationships between Chilean and US partners.  She noted a great appreciation for the comprehensive work of APHIS, emphasizing its close alignment with the Chamber’s mission, and officially presented the 2016 Visionary Award to Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, on behalf of the USDA APHIS PPQ. El-Lissy accepted the award with vivacity and took the chance to apprize his colleagues present that evening. He said that part of the mission of their work was to facilitate the safe trade of commodities coming to the United States which ensures delicious, fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables year round. El-Lissy recognized the companies, importers, and vessels for their partnership commitment and understanding of market change on business and other government regulations. He ended his remarks with acknowledgement of the Chamber for the growth of this cohesive relationship to reach a shared mission.

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

U.S. Senator Chris Coons graciously stopped by the 11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile to share in the celebration.  The Senator emphasized the importance of job creation in the region, much of which he accredits to trade activity with Chile.

Following the close of remarks, Brisa Carmenere and a Porta Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon were raffled off to lucky guests.  Robert Palaima then closed the event and invited all guests to take a ProChile gift bag on their way out.

11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

The CACC would like to extend a special thank you to all of the sponsoring companies and attendees of this esteemed event, and also to Mauricio Banchieri and ProChile NY for providing gift bags and facilitating the fresh Chilean Salmon for the evening.  ¡Muchas gracias!

For more photos from the 11th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile, please visit our Flickr Page.

Interview with CACCGP Board Member Benjamin Leavenworth

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Leavenworth Applies Worldly Awareness in Advancing Chile-Delaware River Trade

By: Scott Abott | American Journal of Transportation: Issue #662| March 21, 2016
Armed with lessons learned a quarter of a century ago in the temperature-challenged Chilean ice fields, Benjamin Leavenworth is heating up temperature-controlled commerce between Chile and ports of the Delaware River.
Son of a Mexico-based Campbell Soup Co. executive and grandson of Switzerland’s top Philadelphia diplomat, Leavenworth says he is living his dream while serving as honorary consul of Chile, as a board member of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and as chief relationship officer and partner of Afina International LLC, a Philly-based finance and investment firm.

And the family’s multicultural tradition is continuing with Leavenworth’s twin 1-year-old daughters, as he shares – along with plenty of insights into time-honored trade – in an interview with the American Journal of Transportation.

How important to Chile is logistically sound exportation of temperature-controlled commodities to the United States, in particular to Delaware River ports?

It’s absolutely fundamental to our business in Chile. If it did not exist and if it was not of the quality that the Delaware River ports today offer, frankly, I don’t think the business could exist in the first place.

Chile was one of the pioneering countries in massifying counterseasonal exports of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the only way you can send a cargo ship, either reefer or refrigerated containers, the 5,000 or so miles to North America is you have to have great temperature-controlled facilities. And the Delaware River ports do this better than anyone in the United States.

With expanding pilot programs for bringing South American produce into ports south of the long-established 39th parallel demarcation, do Delaware River ports continue to offer advantages for handling this trade?

Absolutely. In business and in this industry, it’s easy to promise a lot, but it’s very hard to deliver. When you don’t deliver, the produce gets ruined.

The reason the Delaware River ports will continue and should be the primary destination for this produce is because it is not just that you can offer a schedule to offload produce.

It is a complete ecosystem which this region pioneered, and it is not just because they have great refrigerated warehousing. It’s because they have workers who have been doing this for several generations. It’s because they work hand-in-hand with the inspection authorities. And what they’ve crafted is a perfect and seamless machine that is very, very hard to replicate.

In addition to the mechanics is the spirit behind it. I have not seen this elsewhere. The spirit is that the families who work the ports, the operators, all see this as their mission.

I think that it’s going to be very hard for other ports to replicate this, because I don’t see how you buy this culture. In the case of the Delaware River ports, they’ve grown this over more than 40 years.

Noting your own experiences with importation of Chilean wine and grass-fed beef as examples, what commodities besides fruits play key roles in Chile’s U.S. trade, and what supply chain challenges are posed?

There are other fresh products that Chile exports and that are significant, many of which at this time we don’t see coming through the Delaware River port region.

Probably the largest and most-known is fresh and frozen salmon. Chile is the second-largest producer of salmon in the world [behind only Norway], and the U.S. market is important.

What we see coming from Chile, besides the mineral commodities and metals like copper, are, in order of importance, fruits, with table grapes leading the charge, then berries and so on. Then salmon is an important export to the U.S., followed by things like bulk fruit juices, dried fruits and nuts. We’re going to see more and more nuts coming out of Chile as there is greater and greater demand that is hard to fulfill just out of our U.S. growers.

Among things kind of up-and-coming is olive oil. Chile has become a significant player in producing truly world-class olive oil. And of course you’ve got the famous wine, which is now fairly established and primarily on the East Coast comes through New York ports.

There are budding projects to export produce like peppers and garlic and onions. There is growing interest in Chile, particularly coming out of the Sixth Region [or Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Region, south of Valparaiso and Santiago, centered around Rancagua and San Fernando], to create an industry to export non-fruit produce to the Delaware River region.

In the role you have held for more than a decade as Chile’s honorary consul in Philadelphia, as well as in your positions as chief relationship officer and partner of Afina International Advisors S.A., plus longtime involvement on such boards as the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, how are you engaged in advancing Chile-U.S. commerce?

The three are different hats.

As Chile’s consul, wherein I was appointed by the president of Chile [Ricardo Lagos Escobar, in 2005] to take over the existing consulate here in Philadelphia, my jurisdiction is Pennsylvania, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. In that role, my principal focus has been supporting the trade, political, economic and cultural relationships between Chile and the region.

I work actively. I’ve taken the governors of Delaware and Pennsylvania to Chile. I organized the visit of Chile’s president [Michelle Bachelet Jeria] to the region last year – the first-ever visit of a president of Chile to this all-important region.

This region supports half a million jobs in Chile. These are numbers provided by Asoex, the Chilean Exporters Association.

So this region for Chile is tremendously important and, of course, as a result of the trade, thousands of jobs are supported here. So it’s a win-win relationship.

I, as consul, have the great responsibility of working to ensure this relationship is constantly growing and constantly front-and-center for both Chile and our region.

As a member of the board of the Chilean & American Chamber, I have helped the chamber develop deep relationships in Chile, both with chambers in Chile and at the political and economic level. What this has meant is the chamber, which brings together industry primarily, is able to very effectively work to support the trade interests of both sides.

An example is that, when we had our devastating earthquake in 2010 [taking more than 500 lives and causing more than US$25 billion in economic losses], the chamber was able to work with the government and authorities to help find ways to allow Chile’s fruit to come in unhindered despite delays because of damage to the ports. This is why a chamber is so important, particularly this one.

At Afina International, I am a partner, and my chief responsibility is managing and sustaining our key relationships. We’re a finance and investment firm. We work throughout Latin America but are particularly strong in Chile.

I’m taking off my consul hat. In my private-sector position as a partner of Afina, we look at investing not just into the region but also bringing investment from the region into the United States.

In a way, it mirrors the work that I’m doing as a diplomat, except this is actually moving dollars back and forth that are creating jobs here in the U.S., that are creating opportunities in Chile, and it goes beyond Chile and the U.S. We just recently launched a fund in Australia that allows Australian pension funds to direct their resources into the capital markets of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.

So, at Afina, we’re helping to grow the economies of these countries and of the United States, and it’s a privilege.

What did you learn from your participation in the National Outdoor Leadership School while attending Hamilton College that you are successfully applying today?

I spent three months [of 1991] in the northern ice fields of Chilean Patagonia. This is where I first experienced my deep love for Chile.

The lessons that you learn under those very extreme circumstances are how to be resilient, creative, and I learned how to take risks while understanding that the consequences at times can be life-threatening.

In my career, in what I do, what I learned through NOLS is how to be a leader, how to make tough decisions, not to shy away from risks but also manage the downside, because, in this case, the downside was you could have fallen down a crevasse and died.

That’s a pretty serious downside…

That was made abundantly clear to us. They said, “This is a program to learn how to lead, but leading does not mean making stupid mistakes.”

This has served me well, because whether it’s building a business or helping Chile build its relationships, you need a bit of both. You need to be able to ask tough questions and think big, like getting the president to come here, but, at the same time, you need to understand that there are consequences and know how to manage for it.

It is a lesson that I’m constantly reminded of that came out of NOLS and, wow, Patagonia! It’s one of the most amazing places in the world. It was definitely a “Lord of the Rings” experience that continues to serve me to this day.

At what point in life – and how – did you obtain multilingual proficiency?

I was born and raised in Mexico. My father was the regional president of Campbell Soup Co. for Latin America. I’m a 14th generation Yankee – my family arrived in 1664 – but, because of my father’s work, I was born in Mexico. Because of that, not only am I completely bilingual, but also have a deep, deep, deep love for Latin America, and that’s where that began.

My mother’s father was the consul general of Switzerland here in Philadelphia during World War II. Of course, that always inspired me to be a diplomat.

So I have to say that I am actually living my dream today. I get to be a diplomat for a region of the world that I love, and I’m also doing my work and my business, and they are absolutely interrelated. It gives me great joy to have the privilege to meet and work with extraordinary people.

Bringing it back to Delaware River ports, I think this is what Delaware River ports as a whole – as I’ve gotten to meet and know everybody involved – it’s all about the deep personal relationships and the deep care for Latin America and building business in Latin America and especially Chile.

When not busy with your extensive business pursuits, what do you do for fun?

You can probably guess that one of them is that I love wine and wine tastings. I certainly take opportunities to do that.

And the other thing – not that I don’t travel enough – is I love, love personal travel.

And all of that was fine and good until last year, when I became father to identical twin girls. At this point in time, I’ve discovered that there’s nothing more joyful or entertaining for me or where I’d rather spend every moment of my free time than being a dad.

I’d give up any other hobby. I just love, love being a dad.

My wife’s family is from Hong Kong, and we just got back from Hong Kong. We took the babies and we went to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.

So your daughters will definitely be multilingual…

You bet.

The fact is, whether we want it or not, it’s a global world. My family, in a way, is part of that, but it’s exciting for me to think that my daughters will be not only multilingual but multicultural and will consider the world their home. And I think that’s good for all of us.


18th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon – December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015


On Thursday, December 3, 2015, members and friends of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia gathered in the Hyatt at the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom to honor Ralph Hackett of Dayka & Hackett LLC and Derrick Jenkins of Wakefern Food Corporation at the 18th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon.

The celebratory luncheon kicked off with a wine reception, with exquisite Chilean wines provided by ProChile New York. Guests mingled while drinking both red and white wines from Chile before the President and Chairman of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, Robert Palaima, welcomed guests into the ballroom to begin the awards ceremony. After Palaima gave welcoming remarks, guests were introduced to Consul Francisco del Campo, General Consul of Chile in New York, for remarks given on behalf of Ambassador of Chile to the United States, Juan Gabriel Valdes. Consul del Campo highlighted the positive economic impact the greater Philadelphia region has on Chile, praising the work of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Dayka then introduced his business partner, longtime friend, and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Ralph Hackett, Managing Member of Dayka & Hackett LLC. Ralph’s speech attributed his successes to his time spent as a student at Girard College and growing up in North Philadelphia. Ralph has had a professional career spanning forty years, thirty of which have been focused on the fresh produce industry. His industry experience began in 1985, when he joined Cal Fruit Suma, starting out as Controller then quickly being promoted to Operating Manager. Cal Fruit Suma, following its 1985 startup, was amongst the leading US importers of Chilean fruit from 1987-1989. Ralph has been the successful starter of multiple distinguished companies in the fresh produce industry, including Suma Fruit International, Pacific Trellis Fruit, and his current enterprise with business partner Tim Dayka, Dayka & Hackett LLC, which is headquartered in Reedley, California and has a full service regional office in operation at the Port in Wilmington, Delaware.


After lunch, Robert Palaima invited Robert Wonderling, CEO and President of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, to address attendees with greetings on behalf of the CACC’s affiliate organization.

Shortly after, Harold Sbrocco, Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce Board Member and former Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, introduced his friend, colleague, and Friend of Chile Award Recipient, Derrick Jenkins, Vice President of Produce and Floral of Wakefern Food Corporation. Derrick stressed the importance of the continual influence of his mentors throughout his career, stating that they gave him the motivation and guidance to succeed in the fresh produce industry. Derrick joined Wakefern in 1982. Starting as a temporary Junior Accountant, he was hired shortly after as a full-time Junior Accountant in Produce. Derrick remained in Produce, rising through the ranks in the division and working as an Analyst, Buyer, Produce Manager, Senior Produce Manager and Procurement Manager before being named Vice President of Produce and Floral. The successful Produce and Floral Division meets logistical demands, bringing products from every part of the region, country and world to grow business. Produce ships seven days a week to all stores, and the division also has buying offices in California and Florida.

The luncheon closed a huge calendar year for the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. The 18th Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon was another success for 2015, following the monumental Presidential Dinner with Michele Bachelet in January and other signature events like the 10th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile and the 5th Annual Summer International Business Networking Reception.


This event would not have been possible without generous sponsorships from our members.
Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: Dayka & Hackett LLC, J&K Fresh East, and Diamond State Port Corporation / Port of Wilmington, as well as our Corporate Table Sponsors: AMC Direct Inc., Capespan North America, Delaware River Stevedores, Dole Fresh Fruit, Holt Logistics Corp., Manfredi Cold Storage & Distribution, Mattioni Ltd., Murphy Marine Services, OHL International, Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, Pilots’ Association for the Bay & River Delaware, Port of Wilmington & Diamond State Port Corporation, RPS / Royal Fumigation, Sbrocco International, Inc., Unifrutti of America, Western Fumigation, and William H. Kopke, Jr. Inc.

The CACC would also like to thank Al Dia News Media, the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, and the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association for providing media coverage of the luncheon.

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, apolitical membership organization with a mission of fostering increased and improved commercial and trade relations between the Republic of Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region. To learn more about the CACC or for more information regarding membership, please contact Christina Lista at 215-790-3627 or [email protected]

Click here to view photos on our Flickr page.