Honduras has launched an economic transformation unit called Honduras 2020 to help attract and facilitate investment in the textiles and apparel sector in the country. Honduras 2020, which is jointly funded and directed by the public and private sector, extends an invitation to potential investors to explore the textiles and apparel industry within a pro-business environment to drive strategic long-term growth. Honduras 2020 offers fiscal incentives to investors, such as no federal or municipal taxes, government subsidies for salaries for new employee training and access to capital with financial institutions active in the sector.
Honduras offers important competitive advantages for investment in the textiles and apparel sector. Honduras is the number one worldwide cotton shirt and number two sweater volume exporter to USA market. According to the Honduran Manufacturers Association, the industry has an estimated investment value of $7.8 bn designated to clothing and manufacturing fabric.
Its strategic geographical location represents a great competitive advantage, as it offers the largest and safest port in Central America, certified under the Safe Container Initiative. WRAP, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, which is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting labour, health, safety, environment and customs law compliances, ranks Honduras in second place for social compliance in Latin America and first place in Central America.
Honduras benefits from a stable legal framework, which is based on the Free Zone Law, and which guarantees the principle of free enterprise and production incentives. “Textiles and apparel industry investment represents a great socioeconomic impact for both parties,” authors of the initiative explain. “The country where the investment takes place is provided with employment opportunities that reduce unemployment percentages and, on the other hand, investors are granted the benefit of improving their performance margins since their costs diminish due to highly productive labour force.”
Through the Tripartite Comission (Government – Workers – AHM) and Bipartite Comission (AHM – Textile Labor Unions), permanent dialogue mechanisms have been created with textiles sector workers. PROCINCO, the Integral Competitiveness Training Program, offered by the AHM in alliance with INFOP, the Honduran Vocational Training Institute, offers a series of training courses for operators, technicians, managers and executives. More than 562,000 employees have been trained since 2001.
The vision for the textiles and apparel sector established by Honduras 2020 is to position the country as the textiles export leader in the Americas to USA and Europe reaching a total of $7.4 bn and creating an important number of new jobs. Focused on corporate social responsibility, AHM also promotes training initiatives, housing access opportunities, safety and occupational health standards, and also a new pilot project of child care centres. This provides residential areas with security, stability and comfort for the families of textiles workers.