When the Chilean government decided tosendits largest-ever delegation of politicians and business leaders to the U.S. for the inaugural Chile Week USA, placing New York City and Miami on the itinerary seemed appropriate.
The inclusion of Philadelphia might have surprised some observers. However, the city has long-established links to Chile, officials say.
"Philly's long been a hub for Chilean business and cultural activity due to our central location among the three ports along the Delaware River that import so much Chilean fruit," explained Christina Lista, director of the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, an organization that's been in existence for 26 years. "We're in our fourth decade of partnership with the Chilean perishables export industry."
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The Chilean delegation’s visit to the City of Brotherly Love will include trade and investment seminars and discussions about agriculture, food and tourism. The agenda will also feature the 19th annual “Friend of Chile” awards luncheon co-hosted by the Chilean, American, and Greater Philadelphia Chambers of Commerce.
Chile is the world’s largest exporter of blueberries, grapes, plums, prunes, trout and Pacific salmon. Chile exported more than $4 billion in fruit to Philadelphia in 2014, according to the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce.
The next phase in the relationship between Philadelphia and Chile will occur in the tech sector. The World Economic Forum claims that Chile is the most competitive economy in Latin America with a focus on infrastructure and entrepreneurship on all levels of computer and science technology.
Chile Week (Oct.24-28) is meant to reach out to imaginative individualswith deep pockets, participants said.
"Chile Week is a way to attract new investments, as local investors are able to attend seminars and business lunches where they can find out about the opportunities in Chile, as the U.S. is our second largest trade partner in the world," said Juan Gabriel Valdes, Chile’s ambassador to the United States.
Valdes is expected to attend the “Friend of Chile” awards luncheon as well as a seminar on “The Chilean Economic Export Miracle,” at Drexel University.
On his country's relationship with Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region, Valdes said he is "aiming to expand trade while strengthening the relationships at all levels that we have built over time."