AFI Association of Food Industries

AFI Serving the U.S. Food Import Sector

FORGING AHEAD: The State of the U.S. Food Import Industry Today and a Look at Where Things are Headed

The Only Convention for the U.S. Food Import Industry. Two-day educational event for U.S. food importers, their suppliers and those who offer products and services to food importers. Topics will include: Foreign Country Food Export Spotlights, Economic Trends, Ocean Freight, Bonded Warehouses, Networking, Exclusively for Overseas Suppliers: Tips of the Trade, and more! Scroll below for more information about speakers and activities.

> AFI Convention Schedule

Top-Notch Presenters Covering Today’s Top Issues & Trends

Although the pandemic is over, the effects of stimulus and inflation continue to ripple through the global economy. Join us for a consideration of the likelihood of a recession in the United States this year, whether lower inflation will allow the Federal Reserve to do something about it and what it all means for businesses and investors in 2023.

Scott Clemons, partner and chief investment strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman, is a sought-after writer and speaker on topics related to the economy, financial markets and investing. He’s a frequent contributor to print and broadcast media, appearing frequently in the pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

Selina Mata of FDA will provide information on where things stand with FDA’s enforcement of the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs regulation and insight into the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program.

Selina Mata is the FDA Division of Import Operations FSMA Team Supervisor as well as a co-lead for FSVP and the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program implementation.

Join Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg PA’s Domenic Veneziano, former FDA director of import operations, and Deborah Stern, customs and trade attorney, for a lively and informed discussion on current FDA and CBP priorities in trade facilitation, advanced data targeting, supply chain tracing and how importers can be proactive to avoid costly enforcement actions. Key topics will include FSMA, FSVP, 21st Century Framework and Forced Labor.

Deborah Stern is a member in the Import and Export Practice Group of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., resident in the Miami office. She advises domestic and multinational clients on both U.S. and foreign customs compliance and other trade matters. She concentrates her practice in traditional customs areas, such as tariff classification, seizures and penalties, country of origin marking, valuation, trademark infringement, broker compliance, bonded warehouses, government procurement, trade preference programs and free trade agreements, as well as the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System.

Domenic Veneziano provides advice on the importation of FDA-regulated commodities and the resolution of problems that may occur. He also evaluates medical device and food facilities to determine compliance with good manufacturing practice regulations and the Food Safety Modernization Act and he assists clients in correcting any deviations found during FDA inspections or third-party audits.

He served as director of the FDA’s Division of Import Operations for more than 10 years and was a frequent speaker at AFI events while in that role.

Bill Rooney of Kuehne + Nagel is recognized throughout the country as someone who can explain today’s transportation management issues and offer suggestions on how to avoid them. He’ll do that for AFI Convention attendees plus offer thoughts are where things are headed.

Bill Rooney has nearly 50 years of experience in transportation management, covering a broad range business functions. He’s currently vice president, strategic development for Kuehne + Nagel.

Beneficial cargo owners lost $10 billion in overbilled, overpaid and incorrectly rated ocean freight charges during 2021 and 2022. Now, CFOs and logistic leaders are using precision auditing to claw back six- and seven-figure refunds. The average importer can easily see a six-figure recovery validated in under 96 hours using a combination of public and easily accessible private data.

Steve Ferreira is the founder and CEO of Ocean Audit and an expert in ocean freight. He’s been working in the global shipping container industry for nearly 40 years and has been featured in leading business publications such as USA Today, Journal of Commerce and Forbes and on television with FreightWaves TV and CNBC, where he’s been spotted on Squawk Alley. Ferreira created his own TV network - “Ocean Freight TV”, which provides programming and entertainment related to all aspects of the ocean freight industry.

Hear About:

  • How to manage your liability and risk on the international stage
  • The pressure points that tend to lead to disputes in this industry
  • How to address those pressure points to reduce the likelihood of a dispute
  • How to handle these pressure points, if they do arise, in a way that will diffuse the situation and reduce your risk
  • How to handle disputes in a way that is efficient and cost-effective, and also fair

Tiffany Comprés serves as counsel, representing companies around the world as an advocate in international arbitration and litigation and serves as an arbitrator in international arbitrations. Her experience encompasses a range of disputes and she has extensive experience in the international agriculture, food & beverage, logistics, shipping, distribution, heavy machinery and energy sectors.

Tentative Schedule

Thursday, April 20

1:30p.m.-3:30p.m. AFI Board of Directors Meeting, Mizu Meeting Room

4p.m. - 6p.m. Convention Registration & Importer Resource Gallery, Penthouse Foyer

6p.m. - 7p.m. Welcome Reception sponsored by Setton International Farms, Spa Terrace 

Friday, April 21

8a.m. Breakfast Sponsored by Coughlin Insurance, Spa Terrace

8:50a.m. Welcoming Remarks
AFI Chairman John Sessler, Aozora/Tsuki

9a.m. The Morning After
Scott Clemons, Brown Brothers Harriman, Aozora/Tsuki

9:55a.m. Country Snapshot: Poland, Aozora/Tsuki

10:05a.m. Shipping & Logistics Challenges, Solutions
Bill Rooney, Kuehne + Nagel, Aozora/Tsuki

11a.m. BreakSponsored by Orlando Food Sales, Aozora/Tsuki

11:15a.m. Country Snapshot: Portugal, Aozora/Tsuki

11:25a.m. The Latest News from FDA on FSVP & VQIP
Selina Mata, FDA, Aozora/Tsuki

12:20p.m. Nut & Agricultural Products Section Meeting, Aozora/Tsuki

1-3p.m. Chillin‘ at the Cabanas, Aquatica Pool

1:30p.m. Duct Tours South Beach, LLC
Self transport, additional fee required

6p.m. Reception sponsored by FOA & Son, Spa Terrace

7-9:30p.m. Dinner sponsored by Federation Logistics and Schreiber Foods International, Spa Terrace

Saturday, April 22

8a.m. Spa GardenBreakfast

8:45a.m. General Membership Meeting, Aozora/Tsuki

9a.m. Preventing Disputes: Tips & Tricks to Preserve Your Bottom Line
Tiffany Compres, FisherBroyles, LLP

9:50a.m. Country Snapshot: Saudi Arabia National Center for Palms & Dates, Aozora/Tsuki

10a.m. FDA‘s & CBP‘s Top Priorities and Their Impact on Imports
Deborah Stern & Domenic Veneziano, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, Aozora/Tsuki

10:50a.m. Country Snapshot: Ivory Coast, Aozora/Tsuki

11a.m. Break sponsored by Ron-Son Foods

11:15a.m. Country Spotlight: Morocco, Aozora/Tsuki

11:30a.m. It‘s All About the Benjamins
Steve Ferreira, Ocean Audit, Aozora/Tsuki

12:20p.m. Processed Foods Section Meeting

2p.m.-4p.m. Aquatica Pool Chillin‘ at the Cabanas

6:30p.m. Optional Dinner at Stripsteak by Michael Mina
Self transport, additional fee required


Other Great Convention Features:

International Focus:
Quick look at key products available from several producing countries.

Miami Duck Tour

The Miami boat duck tour provides a journey though spectacular landmarks before a dramatic splashdown into our beautiful Biscayne Bay, for a close-up look at the many homes of the rich and famous on Star Island. Each tour guide has a background in acting and comedy, providing a highly entertaining experience passengers complete with jokes, music, etc. But don’t let all of that joking around fool you! Each guide also has extensive knowledge of the “Magic City.” Through your journey, you learn fascinating historical tidbits about Miami Beach, as well as insider information on our many celebrity residents. (Reservations required; additional fee of $55; self-transport to/from boat required; limited space)

Chillin’ at the Cabanas

After a morning of informative sessions, spend part of your afternoon in a relaxed setting in and around cabanas reserved exclusively for AFI Convention attendees. Enjoy a cocktail, snacks and the company of fellow attendees while soaking up a little sun.

After picking up your convention materials, mingle with experts serving the industry as well as reps from promotion agencies and suppliers from several foreign countries in a relaxed setting featuring drinks and snacks. Member-recommended suppliers and professionals will display and discuss key services and products for food importers. Service providers: For more information on reserving your table: Click Here




Optional Saturday
Evening Dinner

For those able to stay through Saturday evening, enjoy dinner (at 6:30 p.m.) with a group of fellow convention attendees at the highly acclaimed StripSteak by Michael Mina. (Reservations required; additional fee of $135 per person; self-transport to/from restaurant required; limited space.)

Nobu Miami Beach Hotel: A Favorite of AFI Attendees

Ranked #1 Best Hotel in Miami 2022 by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach delivers the unique chemistry and perfect balance of luxury and lifestyle. The setting merges the iconic Miami Modern architecture with an intuitive interpretation of Chef Nobu’s signature style. The Rockwell Group drew upon Japanese architecture and the hotel’s oceanfront location to evoke a contemporary Japanese beach house in a setting complete with Nobu private pool.

Nobu Hotel is a culinary destination unlike any other. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa invites guests to experience an extensive menu of inventive Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influence, paired with bold cocktails and an energizing atmosphere.

To take advantage of the drastically reduced room reservation rate (approximately 75 percent savings) and reduced resort fee for AFI attendees ($20 vs. $38) at

Click Here to Book your Room!



Association of Food Industries: Serving the U.S. Food Import Trade Since 1906
3301 Route 66, Ste. 205, Bldg. C • Neptune, NJ 07753
(732) 922-3008 • Fax: (732) 922-3590 • •