The White House unveiled a $950 million round of investments by private sector players in Central America sourcing, infrastructure and businesses.
The latest investments bring the total to $4.2 billion since the May 2021 launch of Vice President Kamala Harris’ “Call to Action for Northern Central America,” according to a White House fact sheet released this week.
Among the recently announced commitments, several companies aim to boost their sourcing from the region, including:
- Retail giant Target committed to increase spending by $300 million in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras by 2033 in an effort to expand its relationships with vendors that have a presence in the region.
- Columbia Sportswear plans to buy up to $200 million products from the region, which it said would create more than 6,900 jobs over the next five years.
- Nestle, through its Nescafé brand, committed to supporting 7,500-plus coffee producers in “implementing regenerative agriculture practices.”
- Garment supplier Nextil said it would invest $40 million in two new production facilities in Guatemala to make elastic fabrics for the shapewear and sportswear markets.
Altogether, 47 companies and organizations have been involved with the Partnership for Central America, a private-public partnership that coordinates with the White House, which Harris launched with the Call to Action.
Harris has framed the initiative as a measure to address the root causes of migration from Central America, which began spiking late in the last decade. Annually, an estimated 407,000 people on average fled Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador from October 2017 to September 2021 — many because of violence, according to a congressional report.
A paper from Texas A&M’s Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy found that moving more textile production to Central America could address migration by providing more jobs in the region but would need adjustments to trade policies, including around rules of origin terms.