Thank you, Claudia, for the nice introduction and cocktail.
Good evening to all.
It is nice to be here for the first time in San Pedro Sula. As you know, the relationship between the United States and Honduras is solid. In recent months we have had high-level visits from the United States. A few weeks ago, we hosted the first U.S.-Honduras Strategic Dialogue in Washington. The United States is committed to helping Honduras achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Tonight, I will share some reflections on the challenges and opportunities in the local environment. We have heard the concerns of the Honduran government about the financial situation and the limitations for investment in health and education programs. We are working with U.S. experts from the Department of the Treasury and throughout the United States government to try to help.
In the end, the United States and Honduras are not only partners, but we are sister countries. If things go well for Honduras, the same for the United States.
Honduras faces other challenges to sustainable and inclusive economic growth, such as the energy sector. We all agree that the energy sector requires urgent measures to improve the situation of the Honduran people. It also requires action to provide a better investment climate for the private sector. As I have expressed both in private and in public, we support the focus of President Castro and her government on energy reform. And we firmly believe that energy reform is critical for economic development. However, the way they are currently written, we are concerned about the effect these energy reforms will have on private investment and the independence of the regulatory agency.
Countries that provide low-cost electricity to their people and businesses have some things in common. The first is a strong and independent electricity regulatory agency. And the second is the robust and competitive participation of the private sector. We have urged the government to consider these principles when they plan for much-needed reforms.
We also regularly collaborate with the administration of President Castro in efforts to improve transparency and in the fight against corruption. We welcome the arrival of the technical team from the United Nations to discuss the details of an effective anti-corruption commission. I hope to meet with them this week.
In the coming months, the National Congress will select new Supreme Court Magistrates. These magistrates will be key actors in the fight against corruption. A transparent and credible selection process is essential for generating public confidence in the judicial system and strengthening the rule of law. In fact, the Congress is considering reforms of this selection process.
To conclude, my team and I are committed with the government of Honduras at the highest level to promote our mutual interests while at the same time we address our concerns. We hope to encourage constructive dialogue and create an investment climate for inclusive economic growth. To achieve this objective, we need you, as leaders of the private sector, to participate in these discussions with a unified voice.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. My team and I hope to engage with you on how the Embassy can help.