Q: There has been quite a lot of discussion here at the [International Monetary Fund] meetings about possible economic problems in the US and further afield, which could have a big knock-on effect on countries like Honduras that are heavily reliant on the US. How worried are you?

A: We are under the US umbrella because our main export is to the US and also remittances come from the US. Right now we have not seen any effect but we will see it pretty soon. Our exports of garments to the US will slow down so this will create a situation where people [who are working in the garment industry] will have to be cut from their jobs. Also our production of some commodities will be affected, like coffee and all those things where the main export is to the US and Europe. This will slow the growth we are having right now, which is 3.54% of gross domestic product… we will see what is going on, but in the meantime we have to work on the anti-crisis plan for [Honduras in reaction to] the events that are going on worldwide.

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Q: How do you differentiate yourself from other Central American countries as an investment destination?

A: We have all the facilities for investment and we [have] just passed some laws. One of those laws allows us to create what we call a model city or charter city, which allows people to develop from one to 1000 square kilometres so they can set up their business and help develop our city… Also the other part is the development of tourism. In this area we have two different types [of tourism], the archaeology part for the Mayan ruins and also the beaches in the Caribbean. We have some cruise ships coming over every week and we have some cruise ship facilities to stop over in Honduras. And the other part is our coffee. The export of coffee and also some seafood and some traditional vegetables to the US and to Europe is quite strong right now. We are exporting some types of minerals to Asia, to China. We have the forestry, we have agriculture and we have tourism so it is a small country but everything is there.

We hope in the near future, with Central America fighting violence and drug trafficking all together, it will slow down

Q: One of the problems is the perception of security in this region. Do you see that as a deterrent for tourists and investors, and how do you counteract that?

A: The violence in Honduras and in Central America is mainly imported… [Drug traffickers] are pushing up from Colombia and pushing down from Mexico so we are caught in between. In tourism, some areas like the Bay Islands are secluded from the mainland so that is not affected by this violence because it is separate from the mainland and the tourism is quite strong over there. [On] the mainland, yes, it slows things down a little bit, but the government is fighting violence… We hope in the near future, with Central America fighting violence and drug trafficking all together, it will slow down. We have had some meetings at the regional level and next October we will have some meetings in Mexico where all the presidents will get together and sign an agreement against drug trafficking.

Q: How can you get the country on the shortlist for investors?

A: Based on the fact that we have free trade, based on the qualified labour and based on [the fact] that we are close to the US. We have the port facilities so these will create some opportunities for people that want the best and also [those that] produce goods that will be sent back to the US and sent to Europe with the free trade agreement. Honduras is the second country in Latin America for number of trade agreements – not only with the US, Canada and Europe, but also with South America and some parts of Asia.