Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Introduces U.S. Delegation for the Presidential Inauguration


Presentation of the U.S. Delegation to the Inauguration of President-elect Nayib Bukele

San Salvador, El Salvador

Friday, May 31, 2019


Good afternoon, and thank you for that introduction. As head of the U.S. delegation attending the inauguration of President-elect Nayib Bukele, I am honored to be here on behalf of President Trump, First Lady Melania, and the American people to express our best wishes for the President-elect, his new administration, and the citizens of El Salvador. Joining me from Washington are Ms. Kimberly Brier, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; and Mr. David Bohigian, Acting President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. And, of course, we are very appreciative of our host, our esteemed Ambassador to El Salvador, the Honorable Jean Manes.

We all congratulate President-elect Bukele on his election and his broad mandate to initiate reforms. We know how committed your he is to creating strong bonds with the United States. Since his election, Mr. Bukele has already visited Washington twice.  He was extremely well received, and his message – “let’s do business” — resonated positively throughout Washington.

Our delegation comes with a reply – “yes, let’s do business.”

We look forward to working together to create the conditions by which El Salvador can enter a new era of economic prosperity and social stability. The United States is committed to being a strong, long-term, and stable partner in El Salvador’s economic development.  We want to see El Salvador succeed in ending economic stagnation and begin to accelerate the creation of jobs and build prosperity.   We will continue to work with El Salvador to confront hurdles to growth and development.

As El Salvador’s largest trading partner, we will help identify reforms that can mobilize private investment, increase trade, and create opportunities for the Salvadoran people. We will support your efforts to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, revitalize the manufacturing sector, attract investment, strengthen small and medium enterprises, and modernize customs regulations.  These steps will put the Salvadoran economy onto a path of growth and allow Salvadorans to envision a prosperous life in their home country.

President Trump signed the BUILD Act into law on October 5, 2018 to mobilize and facilitate the participation of private sector capital and skills in economic development.   This Act will continue to help businesses in both of our countries – and help El Salvador’s economy grow, creating more jobs and greater economic prosperity.

Ambassador Manes has been an active champion of investing in women, in support of the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, launched by Ivanka Trump and our Administration last February.

This initiative increases women’s participation in the labor force and opens new doors of opportunity for women entrepreneurs through access to capital, markets, networks, and mentorship.  The initiative will engage the private sector, public sector, and civil society to ensure that women have the opportunity to reach their full economic potential in the United States, El Salvador, and around the world, promoting prosperity and peace for everyone. We will continue to stand with you to fight against corruption, to strengthen the rule of law, but also to spur job creation and economic growth in your own country.

Today, even as countries with questionable motives and harmful practices try to expand their influence in the region, the best way to solve these problems, we believe, is to strengthen the bonds between the United States and El Salvador, to increase trade, exchange ideas, and encourage mutual investment between our nations. To that end, I am glad that in a few moments I will speak with a group of U.S. and Salvadoran business leaders assembled here to discuss concrete ways of working together to do more business.

Once again – I am honored to be here representing President Trump at the inauguration of President-elect Bukele. We look forward to tomorrow’s festivities.

Thank you.