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Global Cherry Summit

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

On April 25th, 2018 the Global Cherry Summit will be held at the Monticello Hotel in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile.  This event will be offering educational sessions on the cherry trade, new varieties, logistics, crop management and post-harvest techniques, as well as networking opportunities and the opportunity to participate in a day of forward thinking for a fast-evolving industry.

Cherry imports worldwide rose by more than US$1 billion between 2013 and 2016, representing growth of a whopping 68% to US$2.5 billion.

Don’t miss this chance to join the conversation at the Global Cherry Summit and discover fresh perspectives from across the globe.

For more information, and to register, click here.



12th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017
12th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile
Wine Tasting and Dinner
April 26, 2017
Hotel du Pont
Wilmington, DE

On Wednesday, April 26th, the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia (CACCGP) hosted the 12th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile Wine Tasting and Dinner. The evening was full of spirited conversation and incredible Chilean food and wine. The night began with a reception and Chilean wine tasting; afterwards, guests were escorted into the Hotel Du Pont’s Gold Ballroom for dinner and the award ceremony.


CACCGP Treasurer Miriam Borja-Fisher opened up the evening with a warm welcome, thanking all attendees and sponsors for their continued support of the Chamber. She gave a very special welcome to the Chilean Delegation that was visiting from the VI Region (O’Higgins) in Chile, which included the 2014 Visionary Award Recipient: Alejandro García-Huidobro, Senator of the Republic of Chile, VI Libertador General of Bernardo O’Higgins Region and his wife María-Eugenia, as well as: Felipe García-Huidobro  (Council member of the O’Higgins Council), Cristina Marchant (President of the Agricultural Committee of the O’Higgins Council), Fernando Verduro (President of the O’Higgins Council), Sebastian Zulueta (Executive Director of America Solidaria), and Rebecca Nelson (Director of America Solidaria US). In addition, Borja-Fisher gave a gracious thank you to the sponsors for the evening: Visionary Sponsor The Port of Wilmington/DSPC, Presenting Sponsor RPS/Royal Fumigation, Premium Sponsors: Manfredi Cold Storage, The Pilots’ Association For the Bay and River Delaware, Dole Fresh Fruit, Western Fumigation, Giumarra International Marketing, and Corporate Sponsors: Dayka & Hackett, J&K Fresh East, Sbrocco International, Inc., Tastyfrutti International, Inc., Geodis USA, Ports of the Delaware River Marine Trade Association, Holt Logistics Corp., and Delaware River Stevedores. After recognizing special guests in attendance, the Presenting Sponsor, RPS/Royal Fumigation, was then brought to the stage.


Anne Bookout of RPS/Royal Fumigation began her remarks by recounting when she was told that no two fumigations were ever the same, and has since learned that no two Chilean seasons are ever the same either. Bookout mentioned that RPS has decades of experience in handling Chilean fruit, fostering cooperation along the Delaware River, and of unifying support and efforts from the CACC. Bookout concluded her remarks with a brief introduction of Senator Alejandro Garcia-Huidobro.


Senator Alejandro Garcia- Huidobro graciously thanked the Chamber for making such a wonderful event possible. He stressed the importance of regional- level work, and thanked the Delaware Valley for their continued support of trade and promotion of Chile. Senator Garcia- Huidobro informed the audience of his belief that events like the Taste of Chile enable Chile and the Greater Philadelphia area to forge political, economic, and cultural ties, all while not only reinforcing existing relationships, but creating new ones as well. He closed by reaffirming Chile’s commitment to international trade, and declared that Chile is absolutely committed to the Greater Philadelphia area. Translations from Spanish to English were done by Miriam Borja-Fisher.


Guests enjoyed a delicious meal of fresh Chilean SuperSalmon provided by Agrosuper USA while listening to live music. After dessert, the program continued with remarks from the Vice President of the CACCGP and CEO of Tastyfrutti International Inc., Andreas Economou. He remarked that he is sure that the future will hold bigger and better for the Greater Philadelphia Region and Chile. Economou then attributed the successful relationship between the Greater Philadelphia Region to Senator Garcia- Huidobro and gave a warm welcome to the entire delegation. Invited to the stage was the Visionary Sponsor of the evening, the Port of Wilmington, to present the 2017 Visionary Award.


Francisco Labarca of Global Reefers, representing the Port of Wilmington, Delaware, graciously took the stage to present the 2017 Visionary Award to the award recipient: ProChile. Labarca mentioned that the CACCGP’s Visionary Award was inaugurated in 2012 to recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding work in building resilient international trade relationships between Chilean and US partners. He noted ProChile’s collaboration with the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, resulting in successful programs such as Chile Week. He mentioned how ProChile’s vision for Chile personifies the award criterion and is so very closely aligned with the Chamber’s mission of promoting free trade and business between Chile and the United States, and officially presented the 2017 Visionary Award to Rodrigo Contreras, Head Economic Department & Trade Commissioner from the Chilean Embassy and ProChile in Washington D.C, who accepted on behalf of ProChile. Contreras accepted the award with zeal, and took the chance to inform guests of the necessary involvement of Chile and the US. He stated that the US is the main source of FDI for Chile, and that ProChile’s aim is to strengthen relations between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region. Contreras explained that the Greater Philadelphia area is a key location to strengthen trade and international relations, and said that the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce is a key partner. He ended his remarks by reassuring those present that the Chilean delegation present is a strong symbol of Chile’s commitment to the CACC.


Following the remarks, Christina Lista, the Executive Director of the CACC, spoke about the importance of becoming a member, in order to not only maintain and increase the trade relationship, but the cultural and political ties between the Delaware River region and Chile. She then graciously invited guests to register for two upcoming events hosted by the CACC: International Soccer Night, and the Summer 2017 International Business Networking Reception. After thanking guests and sponsors alike for their support of the evening, Christina announced that the raffle winners will be chosen. One bottle of Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon and Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc, as well as 4 tickets to the Phillies vs. Miami Marlins Game were raffled off to lucky guests.


The CACCGP would like to extend a special thank you to all of the sponsoring companies and attendees of this esteemed event, and also to ProChile DC for facilitating the delivery of fresh Chilean Salmon for the evening.  ¡Muchas gracias!

For more photos from the 12th Annual Experience the Taste of Chile, please visit our Flickr Page.

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.



“Challenges of the Export Industry: Chile’s Fresh Fruit Success Story”

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Challenges of the Export Industry: Chile’s Fresh Fruit Success Story

Friday, October 28, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Gerri C. LeBow Hall
3220 Market Street
Rm. 406
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Philadelphia’s final Chile Week USA program, Challenges of the Export Industry: Chile’s Fresh Fruit Success Story, hosted by the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia (CACC) and Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, was held on Friday, October 28th, following the CACC’s 19th Annual Friend of Chile Awards Luncheon. Guests gathered in Gerri C. Lebow Hall on Drexel’s campus for an in-depth conversation with Chilean trade expert Ronald Bown F., Chairman of the Board of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

Mr. Frank Linnehan, Ph.D, Dean of the LeBow College of Business, began the seminar by warmly welcoming CACC Members and guests to Drexel University before Bown took the podium. The comprehensive talk, moderated by Honorary Consul of Chile in Philadelphia, Benjamin Leavenworth,  brought to light the incredible success of the Chilean fresh fruit export industry, as well as some of the hurdles they have yet to overcome and strategic goals for the future. Bown included an array of stimulating facts regarding Chilean trade initiatives in his presentation. For example, he explained that Chilean fresh fruit exports have increased more than 25 times in the last 36 years with more than 17,000 fruit importers around the world receiving Chilean fruit, and that North America was Chile’s number one market with 32 per cent of the export total. The expertise required to handle the fresh and “live” produce is not an easy feat but through innovation and collaboration with foreign networks there has been a mutual success for Chilean exporters and international importers. Bown also described a few goals for the future of Chile’s fresh fruit export industry, a list which includes securing long-term sustainability through the development and defense of the markets.

At the conclusion of the presentation there was a brief Q & A discussion with students and audience members. Leavenworth then ended the program with a special thank you to the speaker and special guests and the event’s co-sponsor, Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. Following the seminar, guests gathered for a spread of various appetizers and Chilean wine.

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.



It’s That Time of Year Again!

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Here at the CACC we are busy editing and perfecting this year’s Membership Directory and Business Guide. Our unique directory allows us to better serve, you, our members by providing a comprehensive collection of information and data relevant to the Chilean-Philadelphia professional relationship.

We hope you all are as excited as we are about this year’s directory!



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.


Chilean miner recounts dramatic rescue during ‘The 33’ premiere

Monday, October 12th, 2015

By Anne Hoffman
Published October 09, 2015 on Fox News Latino

PHILADELPHIA – There was a long line of people waiting to take a picture with Jose Henriquez at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center Thursday night. People were shuffled in and out, assembly line style, so everyone could take a turn. Elderly women, young ladies in heels so high one tripped downstairs – and even little kids wanted a photo with him and some Chilean flags after a screening of “The 33.”

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Henriquez is one of Los 33, the group of Chilean miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days in 2010. A Pentecostal Christian for most of his life, Henriquez would often sit in the center of a semicircle of men, and lead them all in prayer. This was a role he assumed naturally, as someone who had experience with street preaching in his life pre-disaster. He eventually won the nickname El Pastor. “We had a captive church,” he told the audience Thursday night after the screening, to laughter.

The screening, held by La Esperanza, a religious nonprofit in Philadelphia whose mission is to “strengthen Hispanic communities,” was attended by almost 260 people. It was an audience comprised of Latino clergy, university presidents, political leaders and high school and college students.

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Gladys Gordon, a Chilean chancellor for the local consulate, was in attendance. At the reception before the screening, bartenders served big glasses of Chilean wine.

The screening and Q and A that followed was not Jose Henriquez’s first rodeo. He’s been traveling for five years speaking about the horrifying ordeal in the Copiapo mine. Philadelphia was his last stop on a multi-city tour that included church visits in Los Angeles and screenings in Dallas and Miami. For part of the tour, he was joined by another miner, Ariel Ticona, as well as Greg Hall, a driller who worked on mine rescue efforts back in 2010.

The miners were excited to see the book, called “Deep Dark Down,” finally near its release date as a major motion picture. All 33 miners gave extensive testimony to the filmmaker, Henriquez said. He told the audience that he and his fellow miners were hoping they could receive compensation from some the film’s profits.

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Some audience members were also deeply concerned to discover that the company that owned the mine was not found at fault by the Chilean government, and was not required to pay miners a settlement. Henriquez told the audience that while he and the other 32 men “were not blessed” to work for the owners of the mine, one positive from the film and the accident is that it is creating awareness about how dangerous mining can be. The ultimate hope is to strengthen worker protections.

Henriquez is one of the fourteen older miners who received a small pension from the government, but he said, at around $500 a month “it can’t support a family.” Many of the miners have health problems. Henriquez himself has issues with his lungs. Other miners have had a hard time finding work, and some have returned to below-ground work once again.

People in the audience were overwhelmingly moved by Henriquez’s testimony, as well as his portrayal in the film. A 14-year-old named Jordan who is mulling a career in the ministry found Henriquez’s character the most moving. “Definitely someone who I could look up to really highly,” he said.

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Widilia Ortiz, an older woman from Camden said, “I think he was a key person in what happened to them. He gave them the hope to survive,” adding that Henriquez gave the men something to live for. “God put him in there to give them the support that they needed spiritually.”

“For me it was amazing as a man of God to hear what he was saying about what was going on down there…Where there was supposed to be no hope, in the darkness of that place, there was hope,” Hector Villaveitia, a Bible teacher at Esperanza high school said, “At some point in our travel through life, we lose faith. But we need to receive or look for that hope, within us.”

For many of the men in the mine, Henriquez provided that.