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LATIN VISITORS READY TO SHOP ‘TIL THEY DROP

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From disposable diapers to dishwashers, the families and entourages of those taking part in the Summit of the Americas are shopping until they drop - practicing the sort of free trade President Clinton wants the summit to endorse.

While 34 presidents and prime ministers huddle this weekend to debate free trade at the Summit of the Americas, those with them are attacking Miami malls with long shopping lists in hand.Miami, the shopping mecca for much of Latin America, is bracing for a surge in sales from the historic hemispheric gathering that will draw more than 10,000 delegates, security and news media.

Businesses offering armored cars, laptop computers and bridal gowns already have a steady clientele of affluent Latin visitors, many of whom already are in the habit of flying to Miami several times a year for a weekend of shopping.

"This is going to be a great weekend for Miami retailers," said Cynthia Cohen Turk, head of Marketplace 2000 consulting firm. "These visitors are going to want to buy everything from key lime pies to Celia Cruz compact disks."