I welcome you all to Connect USA, an event created to provide business opportunities between companies in El Salvador and the United States.
I would like to congratulate the whole team of our Commercial Section, for organizing this very successful event and to you, for appreciating the relationship with our Commercial Office.
Some of you may know that I grew up in a small family business, where I worked alongside my parents and siblings, and personally experienced the challenges of having a business of my own in a competitive market. I understand the long hours of work, many times seven days a week.
It is this effort that makes small and medium enterprises the basis of the economy. We grow thanks to your dedication.
However, the world is becoming smaller every day. It is essential to connect with partners outside our borders to ensure economic development, and I invite you today to do just that.
As part of the U.S. Supplier Directory launched today at this event, there are 21 US companies that are looking for a partner in El Salvador. I encourage you to visit the Expo and to take advantage of this huge opportunity. As did, for example, Coresa, who is also here today, and whose relationship with their American partner materialized in an event like this.
You, entrepreneurs, investors, importers, are indispensable to achieve the goal that our governments have as a whole: a stable, solid country that offers opportunities for their youth.
In the last 12 months we have seen how trade relations between El Salvador and the United States continue to strengthen. And in the last four years, the assistance that USAID has provided to small and medium enterprises, generated more than 22 thousand new jobs.
We have also seen an increase in potentially transformative industries such as plastic manufacturing.
However, there are still barriers to growth, such as border traffic. And it is necessary to have customs regulations that guarantee safety but do not impede trade.
An investment climate, next to a sound and stable fiscal policy, are indispensable to promote prosperity in El Salvador.
Together, we can do it.
I believe we find ourselves at a time ripe for change, where we can truly impact El Salvador, for its creative youth, anxious for opportunities.
Despite the challenges, there are young pioneers who sought support through our program for young entrepreneurs in Latin America, YLAI. Some of them are here today and I invite you to visit them during the Expo and see what they are doing now. They are young entrepreneurs who could be your partners tomorrow.
We must invest in them, tomorrow’s leaders, and strive to create an economic environment in which they can find opportunities here in El Salvador.
Connect USA is a space where you can forge new business connections and I invite you to strengthen the ties between our nations, maximize this opportunity, and be the owners of El Salvador’s future.
Let’s make 2017 the year of positive action!