Remarks to Investors Luncheon
Secretary of State
(In progress) the formal dedication. With me is Senator Patrick Leahy. Senator Leahy, who has been – (applause) – a stalwart champion of support for Haiti; and Secretary Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor – (applause) – which (inaudible) as well in Haiti. And I think people know our great ambassador, Pam White, and her predecessor, Ambassador Ken Merten, who’s also here. (Applause.) And I don’t know where she is, but my chief of staff and the principal driver of (inaudible) what we’ve done in the Obama Administration, Cheryl Mills, as well. (Applause.)
Mr. President and Prime Minister Lamothe, thank you both for championing (inaudible) has done, which has been so critically important. I can’t help but recognize we have three presidents. President Preval is here somewhere in the crowd as well. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) And then, of course, President Clinton (inaudible). (Applause.) He and I first came to Haiti a very long time ago together. (Laughter.)
And I hope that what all of you have seen today – the expo, the industrial park, the housing development – has made very clear something we’ve been saying to everyone: Haiti is truly open for business, and we want your help. We see this partnership between governments like our own and the private sector as absolutely essential in promoting and supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti. We know very well that long-term prosperity cannot come from just the provision of aid; there must be trade and investment like we have seen here today.
So in our work in the Administration on behalf of Haiti, we have looked for ways to promote sustainable economic growth. And we have also partnered in a serious manner with the government, because clearly, we wanted our priorities to be following Haitian priorities. That’s the only way that those will be lasting accomplishments for the people of Haiti.
Now, in the years to come, there will be demand for more infrastructure, whether it’s building roads, expanding the power grid, or improving and even building ports. There’s a lot of opportunity in crafts and artisan work, in tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing, an untapped labor market that you’ve already seen here in Sae-A, and other companies that are setting up here. And of course, Haiti has an unmatched trading partner in the United States just a few hundred miles away.
For our part, the United States is encouraging more investment in Haiti by cutting down trade barriers for textile and apparel exports, and we’re also doing it in a way that respects the country’s environment and resources, re-invests in communities, and makes it clear we’re here for the long term.
A single building was not here a year ago, and now more than a thousand Haitians are coming to work. This is something that is remarkable. In fact, four months ago, the plane I flew in on could not have landed at the new airport in Cap Haitien. And today, its expansion is going to open up even more opportunities.
So it gives me great pleasure not only to encourage you to invest in Haiti but to introduce President Martelly, who has shown us the commitment from the Haitian Government and turned a slogan – “Haiti is Open for Business” – into a reality.
Mr. President. (Applause.)