On July 7, Scott Nathan, the head of the US Development Finance Corporation, visited Honduras to discuss investment in biomass, solar energy, and measures to strengthen the agricultural sector through energy projects. He met with the Secretary of Energy Erick Tejada and several other government and private sector representatives.
The visit occurred in spite of public disagreement between the United States and Honduras over reforms to Honduras’ energy law, passed in May. In the 2022 Investment Climate Statement, the U.S State Department said that Honduras’ energy law had “dramatically increased the uncertainty of investment returns” as it threatened “power generators with forced sale at a ‘just price if they do not reduce their tariffs to the government’s satisfaction.” Before the law was approved, the US Ambassador to Honduras, Laura Dogu, tweeted, “Energy reform is critical for economic development. We are analyzing the energy bill and, as written, we are concerned about the effect it will have on foreign investment and the independence of the regulating agency.” The Honduras Secretary of Foreign Relations, Enrique Reina, tweeted back “Madam Ambassador, you have been welcomed with open arms. Energy reform is urgent as a State, it combats an inherited situation of corruption and poverty. We are concerned about your misguided opinion on domestic politics, which does not contribute to good relations with the US.”
In August, several members of Congress visited Honduras to discuss investment opportunities. On August 5th, authorities visited textile and apparel facilities in an industrial park in Choloma. According to reports, they “witnessed first-hand the significant investments, expansions, and job creation in the country’s textile and apparel sector and the U.S.A fibers and yarns utilized in the production process.” The delegation, led by Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA)- the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability- toured several companies with facilities in Honduras, including Parkdale Mills, Elcatex, and SanMar. Reps. John Katko (R-NY), Tony Gonzales (R- TX), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Abigail Spanbarger (D-VA) also joined the delegation, alongside Ambassador Dogu and US and Honduran industry executives. These new investments in the industrial park were recently highlighted by Vice President Kamala Harris, who has called on private industry to promote economic opportunity in the region to address the root causes of migration. The congressional delegation visited El Salvador and Guatemala as well, where they discussed cracking down on transnational criminal groups, boosting response to migrant smuggling and human trafficking, addressing poverty and migration, and strengthening U.S ports of entry.