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U.S.-Latin Trade magazine

In Search of El Dorado [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
August 1994
Design by Kevin Jolliffe

FOR SIXTEENTH- CENTURY SPANISH EXPLORERS in Latin America, the search for precious metals was a crowning obsession. Cortes sent back streams of silver and gold from Mexico, Pizarro conquered Peru in order to do the same. Nothing intrigued the conquistadores, however, as much as the mythical city of El Dorado, a fabled place rich in jewels and gold. El Dorado was never found, of course, and over the years colonists suited themselves to acquiring precious metals via the time-honored method of digging them out of the ground. Today, with new mining techniques opening vast tracks for exploitation, U.S. and Canadian mining companies are searching, once again, for the magic of El Dorado. And the mountains of Latin America are very much for sale. “The combination of mining technology, better communication in Latin America, the spirit of democracy and favorable attitudes toward foreign investments has met an audience that’s been waiting for a new world to explore and develop,” says Sandy Lawrence, president of Miami-based International Investment Conferences. “All of the conditions have come together.”

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Fresh From Latin America [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
February 1994
Design by Kevin Jolliffe

CARLOS AGUDELO IS THE MIAMI technical service manager at Turbana, one of the biggest importers of bananas to the United States. It’s important that the bananas at Turbana’s farm in Costa Rica get to U.S. distributors fast—and fresh. So, Agudelo leases refrigerated containers from San Francisco-based Genstar Container Corporation. Turbana employees take the containers into the fields where the bananas are picked. The fruit is put into boxes in the refrigerated containers and within 24 hours is on its way to U.S. supermarkets. “We ship 28 refrigerated containers per week of bananas from Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador to four U.S. ports including Texas, Connecticut, and Tampa,” explains Agudelo. So last summer, Turbana leased 140 refrigerated containers from Genstar. Shipping produce between Latin America and the United States has become big business. And Genstar, the largest container lessor in the world, has accordingly beefed up its marketing in the region, winning customers in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

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The Taste of Success [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
September 1994

THE MANAGEMENT AT FRUITSTIX could see it so clearly: frozen strawberry fruit bars dripping down the chins of Mexican children. Lots of Mexican children. That was the dream, at least, when in 1992 sales and marketing director Ray Amicone got a call from a Mexican distributor who wanted to sell the frozen fruit treats to supermarkets and retail outlets in Mexico City. Two years later, FruitStix are stocked in about 100 retail outlets south of the border. But there have been a few kinks to smooth out along the way.

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Finding Diplomatic Resolutions [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
October 1993

STRATEGICALLY PLACED JUST BLOCKS FROM the White House and most of the embassies in Washington, D.C., is Diplomatic Resolutions, a company that specializes in helping U.S. and Latin American businesses work together. “‘The company is like a little embassy,” says Lucy Merrill Duncan, 38, head of the young firm established just last year. “We are global players. Global thinkers. We look for the very best we can find here in the U.S. to promote overseas, and look for the very best overseas to promote here in the U.S.” Seated behind her large mahogany desk, consultant Duncan takes calls from some of D.C.‘s power brokers, people like Dr. Moises Naim, past director for Latin America at the World Bank. “She is at ease in both Washington and Latin America,” says Naim, a former Minister of Industry in Venezuela and now a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. “Lucy helps build bridges between the two because she knows how to operate in both worlds.”

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Fish Farmer [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
September 1993

HERE’S A SHORT QUIZ. WHAT is the top three kinds of seafood products consumed in the United States? If you said shrimp is number one, you are right. Tuna is the second favorite fish, followed by salmon. For the chairman and CEO of Marine Harvest International, Inc., these are important answers. John A. Mistretta’s aquaculture company, with fish farms in Ecuador, Chile and Scotland, is betting heavily on the U.S. demand for these seafoods. “People should think of this industry in the same way they thought of the chicken farming industry when Frank Perdue first started out,” says Diana Burton, vice president and corporate secretary of Marine Harvest. “This is the beginning of serving gourmet fish to the masses. And why not? People love salmon and shrimp.” Indeed they do. In 1992, the world’s fish eaters consumed 258,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon. That same year, 115,000 million metric tons of Western White shrimp were sold. And the United States was the single largest market.

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Cutting Brazilian Red Tape [U.S.-Latin Trade magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Washington Correspondent
U.S.-Latin Trade magazine
May 1993

IMAGINE MAKING THE DEAL OF a lifetime in Latin America, only to realize you can’t get a bill of lading or a draft agreement for three months. When you finally do get your product overseas, you find you can’t collect your money because the bank has frozen the funds, or the company you thought was profitable had really been creative with their balance sheet. Is that enough to send you into another line of business? Don’t sweat it, says Monique Merriam, a former international banker who in 1990 opened Washington, D.C.-based Geofinance Ltd., a finance company which caters to small and medium U.S. exporters struggling with the bureaucracy in Brazil. “There is a need for people who are willing to work with smaller export companies to finance them overseas,” says Merriam, 39. “In response to that need a lot of boutiques like ourselves have sprung up that focus on particular product lines. In our case, the focus is on a particular country: Brazil.”

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More U.S.-Latin Trade magazine Articles


"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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