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Written by Paola Iuspa on November 9, 2000
By Paola Iuspa
Officials at the Port of Miami expect to sign a sister port agreement by April with Spain’s Port of Seville.
The idea was finalized last week during a trip there led by Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, who plans to continue expanding the sister ports program.
Such agreements, said Trenae Floyd, spokeswoman for the Port of Miami, "establish relationships with other ports, enabling the Port of Miami to obtain information about their clients, fee structure, marketing strategies, operations and future activities."
Also, Ms. Floyd said, "it affords the Port of Miami the opportunity to market itself in those regions surrounding the sister ports."
Ms. Floyd said the agreement did not include giving or receiving tax breaks, higher quotas or lower tariffs.
Port of Miami’s first sister program was signed in 1998, she said. To date, sister port pacts are in place with port officials in Alicante, Santander, La Coruna, Tenerife and Las Palmas in Spain; Madeira in Brazil; Dakar in West Africa; and Marseille in France.
Penelas said the agreements stimulate the growth of the local economy.
"It promotes economic development because more trade between those countries creates more jobs," Mr. Penelas said.
Ms. Floyd said the volume of cargo passing through Miami has gone up as a result of previous agreements.
"The total tonnage of imports and exports increased 12.6% to $7.8 million during the 1999-2000 fiscal year," she said. "The total cargo increased 20%."
Mr. Penelas said establishing port agreements with Spain was also a way to gain access to Europe. For companies in Spain, he said, Miami is considered a key gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean.
"Spain is the No. 1 client doing business with the Port of Miami," said Bego§a Cristeto, trade commissioner of Spain in Miami. "We also are the second-largest investors in Latin America."