Honduras and Guatemala welcome El Salvador as the newest member to the Central America economic bloc.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Aug. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández announced the addition of El Salvador to the Northern Triangle Customs Union, in conjunction with Guatemalan president, Jimmy Morales, and Salvadoran president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén. This integrated economic bloc will help the free transit of people and goods across the three countries, while generating employment, increasing trade opportunities, improving regional security, and easing tourism. The three countries represent a territory of more than 77,000 square miles, and roughly 60 percent of the Central American population.
The initial agreement between Honduras and Guatemala began in June 2017. Since the program's implementation, the countries have noticed a 1.4% and 1.2% growth in their respective Gross Domestic Products (GDP). With the addition of El Salvador 14 months later, the three countries now expect a commercial impact of $117 million in trade benefits across the region.
Government officials confirmed that as a result of the new hub, the time spent at customs will decrease significantly, creating a more competitive region for producers and buyers investing in Central America. With the completion of the Omoa Highway, located in northern Honduras extending into Guatemala, it will further ease the transportation of goods and people across Central America.
The recent success of the customs union adds to Honduras's transformation into a logistics hub of Latin America. Through support from the President's economic plan, Honduras 2020, Honduras has invested $2.4 million in the past year into highways to facilitate regional travel.
President Juan Orlando Hernández says, "[Thanks to] the new Customs Union between Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, we're looking to become the eighth largest economy in Latin America." He continues, "we have begun to define our short, medium, and long-term goals, and hope to eventually include Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama as well in this Union."
"With the addition of El Salvador, our new Customs Union will help us establish a productive integration and common market capabilities that will open more opportunities and generate economic competitiveness within Latin America," explained Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala.
The development projects that President Juan Orlando Hernández's administration continues to push indicates a new phase of modernization for the country. By helping Honduras attract more opportunities for investment, tourism, and exports, it better positions the Central American country within the global market.
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