Honduras: ripe for investment and trade

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
Agricultural products, such as melons and bananas, are among the goods Honduras sends to Canada.

Agricultural products, such as melons and bananas, are among the goods Honduras sends to Canada.

More than 300 international companies have discovered Honduras in the past few years. The country has shown outstanding capacities and skills in the light manufacturing sector, mainly in textiles and confections, in addition to agro-industry, assembly of vehicle components and electronics and furniture construction.
Honduras is the centre of the Central American apparel industry. Today, it is the fourth-largest apparel supplier to the U.S. market in the world, and the largest in the Central American and Caribbean regions. Its position in the sector is further strengthened by its “full package” concept, which means the garment is made entirely in the country, from the fabric and the buttons to its packaging. As such, the sector offers great business opportunities for efficient suppliers, regardless of the size of their businesses.
Also in the agri-business sector, Honduras is ripe for fresh investment. Our tropical climate allows for year-round production milk and dairy products, fish and shrimp, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, sugar, cocoa and coffee. Agri-business and its related sub-sectors represent 40 percent of Honduras’ GDP.
For investors and would-be trading partners, Honduras provides significant advantages. It boasts a flexible labour market with a workforce trained for the textile industry. In addition, its labour costs are among the lowest in the region and the government offers favourable conditions in terms of tax and customs concessions.
For North American business partners, Honduras is more attractive than its Asian competition because of its strategic location. Puerto Cortes, the only deep-water port in Central America and the first in Latin America with U.S. Government CSI (Container Security Initiative) and Megaports certification, offers huge competitive advantages.
Honduras has aggressively pursued free-trade agreements and currently has one with Canada, which came into force Oct. 1, 2014. It also has agreements with each of the following countries: Colombia, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.S. and Central America. It also has FTAs with Taiwan and the European Union.
When it comes to investment opportunities, our government is seeking foreign companies to develop and manage public services through public-private partnerships.
A $12-million road infrastructure program involves paving a 20-kilometre stretch of highway in Colón. A hydro-electric generation project involves building, operating and maintaining a plant over the Mocal River at an estimated value of $40 million. Another project involves building a regional airfield or terminal that will open air travel to new regional and international markets.
We also require a firm to design and build a 130-bed trauma hospital in Tegucigalpa at a value of $48 million. Visit www.coalianza.gob.hn for more information on this and other opportunities.
Two-way trade between Canada and Honduras topped $57 million in 2013. Honduran imports from Canada totalled $17 million and were primarily pork and pork products and fertilizers. Canadian investments in Honduras are primarily in garment manufacturing and mining.
Honduran exports to Canada totalled $40 million and were mostly in agricultural products (pineapple, bananas, coffee, cucumbers, pickles, sweet potatoes, yucca, tilapia, shrimp, sugar cane and palm oil), cigars, cement, string, coal and aluminum waste.
For more than 30 years, successive democratic governments in Honduras have created an environment that fosters business development and promotes and protects productive private investment. Honduras has simplified administrative procedures for setting up businesses and registering property.
Attracting, promoting and protecting national and foreign investment is of primary interest to the government of Honduras and our investment law guarantees equal treatment to foreign and domestic investors. To that end, we have enacted many laws related to the promotion and protection of investments — we have laws on everything from export processing and temporary imports to national infrastructure promotion and public-private partnerships.

Sofia Cerrato is the ambassador of Honduras. Reach her at ambassador@embassyhonduras.ca or 613-233-8900.

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Sofia Cerrato is the ambassador of Honduras. Reach her at ambassador@embassyhonduras.ca or 613-233-8900.

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