In December, the US government launched an extension of the ‘America Crece’, or the ‘America Grows’ initiative, which aims to promote “growth and reforms that drive private sector investments in huge opportunity areas such as energy and infrastructure”, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said during the launch event. The initiative now includes a sub-regional programme that will integrate El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to provide opportunity for the private sector in each of these countries. Trump administration officials have also stressed that the America Crece initiative aims to accelerate, maintain and expand US investment throughout the hemisphere and will serve as a “counter-balance” to China’s increasing presence in the region. Through this initiative, the US commits to working closely with signatory governments through various forms of outreach including diplomatic engagement, formal framework MOUs and technical assistance, to create a commercial environment that is attractive to investors. The relaunch of the initiative marks a shift in the Trump Administration’s policy toward Central America, as the US President had frozen millions in aid to the countries of the Northern Triangle until measures to curb migration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala had been agreed (Central America Briefing Vol 7 Issue 12, 18, 21).
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