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Gov. Corbett, Chilean Min. of Agriculture mark growing importance of fruit to Port of Philidelphia
Underscoring the importance of his recent trade mission to South America, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the Chilean Agricultural Minister Luis Mayol Bouchon and senior Chilean agricultural officials met at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia to observe the unloading of the Bahia Castillo, a refrigerated cargo ship carrying thousands of tons of fresh Chilean fruit to the United States and Canada through the Port of Philadelphia gateway.
As part of the event, approximately 10,000 pounds of Chilean fruit was donated to Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, which loaded the fruit for immediate shipment to its local distribution center. This donation will help Philabundance provide much-needed produce to hundreds of families in need in the Delaware Valley. Chilean exporters and Holt Logistics have donated more than three million pounds of Chilean fruit to Philabundance and its national partner organization, Feeding America, during the most recent growing season.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Chilean Minister of Agriculture for joining me here today,” said Governor Corbett. “Our growing trade partnership with Chile provides Pennsylvanians and people throughout the region with year-round access to affordable fresh fruit.
“The opportunities for expanded trade with Chile and other Central and South American countries will continue to deliver outstanding products, generate significant numbers of good jobs throughout the region, and continue the growing momentum of the Port of Philadelphia as an economic gateway to a significant portion of American population.”
Today’s shipment underscores Governor Corbett’s Commonwealth Jobs Trade Mission, which focused on working with trade partners to increase employment opportunities for Pennsylvania residents in areas of logistics, distribution, healthcare, education and energy. Chile counts the United States as one its largest strategic trading partners in the western hemisphere and has a long-standing Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
“The Chilean fruit trade is vital to the Port of Philadelphia,” said Leo A. Holt, on behalf of Greenwich Terminals, Inc., which operates the Packer Marine Terminal under a lease with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA). “The Governor’s recent trade mission lays the foundation for expanding our partnerships with countries throughout Central and South America, which means that we will have the chance to import more fruit and other commodities that strengthen the region’s economy in the process.”
Joining Governor Corbett and Minister Mayol at the event, in addition to Holt, were Gustavo Rojas, National Director, Office of Studies and Agricultural Policy (ODEPA); Benjamin Leavenworth, Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia; Anibal Ariztia, National Director, Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG); Fernando Astaburuaga, International Affairs Coordinator, Office of Studies and Agricultural Policy (ODEPA); Jose Pedro Arana, Press Officer, Minister’s Cabinet; Ronald Brown, Chairman, Chilean Association of Fruit Exporters (ASOEX); Joaquin Tagle, Agricultural Attaché, Embassy of Chile; and Pedro Bejares, Agricultural Specialist, Agricultural Office. The parties were joined by Charles Kopp, Chairman of the PRPA, and other Port and regional officials.
Pennsylvania and Chile have a shared history of interchange and understanding. The Ports of the Delaware River are the largest nexus of arrival for fresh Chilean fruit in the world including excellent and nutritious commodities such as grapes, apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots as well as summer citrus products. Additionally, the largest international chamber of commerce of its kind, the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce, recently celebrated its 25th year in Philadelphia.
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