After graduating from the University of Amsterdam as a psychologist and expert in social sciences, Paul Dufour was deeply involved in several branches of business. He was a general director for 10 years and also worked many years as an interim manager in various companies.
Paul developed a strong interest in Central and South America, and while immersing himself in Portuguese and Spanish language acquisition, he started designing possible projects in the region. After developing the Salvadoran Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Trade Agency was born, with the objective of bringing closer importers and exporters on both sides of the ocean.
In 2006 Paul Dufour, at that moment a property developer, was invited to a meeting in The Hague where he met with the former Salvadoran Ambassador Agustin Velasquez and the Honorary Consul of El Salvador Mrs. Sonia Meijer. From his experience in Dutch entrepreneurship, Paul was proposed to collaborate in developing “The Bilateral Chamber of Commerce El Salvador-Holland” in The Hague. In May 2007, with the support of the Salvadorian trade institution “Proesa”, the Bilateral Chamber was crystallized and inaugurated in Amsterdam. The inauguration was very successful and involved more than 50 Dutch businesses present at the opening, interested in trading activities with El Salvador. During the development process of the Chamber, Paul was confronted with the huge possibilities to produce, the willingness of Latin American producers to get involved in new trading possibilities, the very limited trade from Latin America with Europe, and the regions’ present trade balance deficit. These were the reasons that inspired him to start the Latin American Trade Agency, following his aspiration to facilitate an open door for European firms and Central and Middle American producers to trade together: what we call the Oceanwide trade way.
In October 2019 the Latin American Trade Agency organized and hosted, in cooperation with the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce El Salvador – Holland, a coffee cupping in the Netherlands. The goal was to allow Dutch coffee decision-makers and customers to experience the excellent qualities of the specialty coffees that the Agency and the Chamber imported from El Salvador and Guatemala. The report of the event can be accessed in NEWS (click). After the cupping, the Agency decided to support the implementation of a Specialty Coffee import in Europe with a customer web-shop. The Trade agency will become the “mother” of the specialty coffee company until it matures, but will still focus on its basic task: stimulating trade for Central and South American countries.
In the Latin American Trade Agency, we are committed to sustainable growth and protection of the world’s natural resources. We believe that protecting the planet is a concern that requires a central place in our decision-making process. The largest forests around the world are under serious threat from deforestation. Thousands of trees are being cut down every year in order to produce electricity or to develop large food plantations using immense quantities of pesticides. These aggressive practices are threatening to destroy natural habitats, tremendously reducing the forests’ areas and endangering biodiversity. In the agency, we insist on sustaining and protecting the environment, committed to handing over a healthy planet to the next generations to come. We focus on selling products which have been grown in an environmentally-friendly way, as well as raising awareness among our producers on the dangers of using pesticides.