According to Delaware Governor Jack Markell, his week-long trip to Chile has been fruitful in more ways than one. News he shared from Santiago, via Skype, with summer campers at the Latin American Community Center (LACC) in Wilmington.
Last night, Gov. Markell signed an agreement with Chilean company Pacific Seaways, a key partner of the Port of Wilmington, to extend the storage and distribution of Chilean fruit in the First State through the summer of 2014.
Chilean fruit coming to the Port generates $2.6 million in tax revenue for the state and the region, and is repsonsible for 650 jobs.
Centered around relationship building, Markell’s five-day trip to the South American country was packed with business dinners and meetings — interactions that, Markell says, could pay dividends in the long run.
“I had dinner with about 45 or 50 growers of different kinds of products… and we look forward to, perhaps, some additional business coming to the Port,” said Gov. Markell. “I had dinner two nights ago with three of the leaders of a company called SQM, and they are a very big company and they make specialty chemicals, including some that are used in fertilizer… We’d like to grow that business.”
The Governor also mentioned schmoozing with lawyers and individuals in the finance sector, who represent companies looking to incorporate in the United States.
“We are working to promote Delaware’s reputation internationally and make sure that any companies looking for a new location know about Delaware,” said Gov. Markell.
The idea of creating a student exchange program is also being entertained.
“I’d like to get more people from Chile to study at the University of Delaware and Delaware State, maybe Delaware Tech, Wesley, Wilmington University,” said Markell. “And hopefullyl some students from Delaware will study in Chile because it’s so important for these kids, for our kids, to understand other cultures, to be able to communicate in other languages and to be able to work with people from other parts of the world.”
This is Gov. Markell’s second trip to Chile. He worked there for about six months when he was in his 20’s.