El Salvador is Central America’s smallest country, but a new deal with the state of Maryland signals the potential for big economic growth.
Governor Martin O’Malley arrived in El Salvador yesterday, becoming the first Maryland governor to do so. There, he signed a memorandum of understanding between the state and El Salvador’s Comisión Ejecutiva Portuaria Autónoma (CEPA), which manages national transportation infrastructure. The deal forms a partnership between Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and El Salvador International Airport, involving information sharing on airport operations, security, maintenance and training. In time, officials hope the two airports will begin offering direct service between Maryland and El Salvador, the governor’s office announced.
Maryland’s relationship with El Salvador runs deep. Maryland has the fourth largest Salvadorian population in the country, with over 120,000 residents. The state boasts the highest earning Salvadoran population in the United States. In 2012, Maryland businesses participated in $60 million in trade with El Salvador.
The governor praised the influence of Salvadorians on Maryland’s economy.
“[The state] has benefited from the hard-working, entrepreneurial spirit of the Salvadoran people,” he said in a statement. “I’m honored to be here to further the partnership between El Salvador and Maryland. The agreement we signed today will strengthen those bonds by sharing the types of infrastructure, technical and modernization strategies we’ve seen work at BWI Marshall.”
Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Guiterrez, a native Salvadorian, emphasized the historic nature of the governor’s visit, saying in a statement, “The more than 100,000 Salvadorans that live in Maryland will be happy to welcome him to our small country that is a key partner to Maryland and the United States.”
During the MOU signing, the governor and Guiterrez were joined by U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte and CEPA President Alberto Arene.