The US and Central American countries collaborate to create sustainable employment in the Northern Triangle
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Private sector and government leaders recently met in Honduras
Members of the Honduras, USA, Guatemala, and El Salvador Business and Investment Council (HUGE), officials from the US Government, business leaders from Northern Triangle countries, and members of the region’s civil society recently gathered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to develop an economic action plan. Its purpose is to generate sustainable employment in the Northern Triangle and stem the flow of mass migration to the United States.
The goal is to stabilize the regional economy
United States Undersecretary of State, José Fernández, and several high-ranking representatives of the US State Department and the US Embassy have worked together with HUGE members. This effort aims to develop an action plan to create a large volume of sustainable jobs for citizens of Northern Triangle countries. It is hoped that the creation of sustainable employment in Northern Triangle nations will stem the tide of illegal immigration to the US
The Honduras, USA, Guatemala, El Salvador Business and Investment Council, with the support of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) of the USA, received Undersecretary José Fernández in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to conduct planning activities. Multiple work sessions provided the opportunity to identify obstacles and opportunities to create more jobs in the textile and apparel and other industries in the region.
HUGE held a roundtable with regional industry leaders
“We were honored to host Undersecretary Fernandez at an industry roundtable and other gatherings in Tegucigalpa. The meetings were very productive and highlighted the significant investment flowing into the CAFTA-DR region as a result of the trade agreement’s forward yarn rule of origin.” This was according to Sara Beatty, Senior Vice President of the US National Council of Textile Organizations ( NCTO).
“Central American and US textile and apparel executives with a strong interest in the critical co-production chain that binds the participating countries together discussed the need for policies that support offshoring and near-offshoring of textile and apparel production. Significant investments have been and will continue to be made in this critical supply chain.” This influx of foreign direct investment will lead to the creation of sustainable employment in the Northern Triangle
In addition to employment generation efforts in the textile and apparel industry in the Northern Triangle, participants at the meetings also presented potential projects in alternative and renewable energy production, financial inclusion, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the maintenance of an active relationship with civil society in each of the four participating countries. Additionally, the members of HUGE encouraged US government officials to continue lobbying China on human rights and labor issues. They also committed themselves to creating safe and resilient supply chains and supporting opportunities for companies in the region to increase PPE production for the health sector. This is seen as an activity that can generate secure and sustainable employment in the Northern Triangle
Huge exists to create employment in the Northern Triangle
The HUGE (Honduras, USA, Guatemala, El Salvador) Business and Investment Council is a non-profit business association established by private sector leaders from the four participating countries. It is based in Washington DC. HUGE represents the first joint effort by industry leaders from these countries to work together to develop plans that they hope will drive massive job creation in the region.
In addition to supporting the development of individual investment projects, as part of its mission, HUGE seeks to bring together key stakeholders in the United States and the Northern Triangle, including small and medium-sized businesses, civil society organizations, and the government sector, to sponsor flagship regional infrastructure projects. It is believed that such efforts will advance the region’s global competitiveness.
HUGE aims to facilitate investments worth approximately US $10 billion to create 500,000 new direct labor jobs and 1.5 million indirect jobs in the four countries in five years. In its first year, HUGE has thus far mobilized $1.9 billion in new investment to create approximately 160,000 jobs.
One of the Founders of HUGE, President of the Elcatex Group, Jesús Canahuati, asserted that “We welcome the US Undersecretary of State to Honduras. He has had the opportunity to witness the development of a significant volume of employment opportunities in the Northern Triangle. Our commitment continues to be the responsible and sustainable development of the region. Furthermore, our goal is to contribute to creating the American Dream both in the Northern Triangle and in the United States.”
The private sector is the key to success
Participants in the meetings recognized that significant opportunities exist through a commitment to a partnership between Honduras, the United States, Guatemala, and El Salvador. All parties agreed that the private sector investment and initiatives could give people hope to remain in their home countries to build a future there amongst family and friends.
“HUGE is very interested in ensuring that the supply and demand of the participating countries come together steadily. Our philosophical position is that job creation driven by private sector activities and initiatives is the best tool to lift people out of poverty,” stated Greg Huger. Huger is CEO of the Honduras, USA, Guatemala, and El Salvador Business and Investment Council HUGE (HUGE).
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