An East Coast association of business leaders has written a “letter to the American people” pleading for an extension of the Chilean grape season in the U.S. in the wake of the Feb. 27 earthquake.


The Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia published its letter in the March 19 edition of The Washington Post.


In it, the chamber calls on Americans to petition the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an extension of the Chilean season of up to 20 days.


Under current regulations, Chilean grapes shipped to the U.S. after April 10 must meet stricter quality guidelines.


The earthquake and its aftershocks caused more than $30 million in damages to roads and ports in Chile, according to the letter.


Top retailers, including Wal-Mart and Costco, a leading union and other businesses and associations in the U.S. support the chamber’s efforts to extend the deadline.