Well, I just want to thank the Apaid family and express my appreciation for this visit, because I think what I’m seeing here and the work that’s going on is exactly what needs to happen across Haiti many, many times over.
Inside this factory, nearly 500 women and men are making clothes that will be sold in stores across the United States. Their (inaudible) wages are two to three times the minimum wage. That means a better quality of life for themselves and their families. And it’s exciting because this is a direct result of action that was taken by the United States Congress in passing the HOPE Act in 2006, which builds on the first act that was passed back in the 1990s.
The HOPE Act is based on a few key ideas. First, the Haitian apparel industry, which once was booming – over 100,000 people worked in this industry 20 years ago – it can be booming again. We can put many, many thousands of Haitians back to work.
People of Haiti have the talent and the determination and the work ethic to make this a success across the country. All the people of Haiti need now is the opportunity to work, and work at good jobs with good wages. The HOPE Act has already created approximately 11,000 new jobs. It has been such a success that last October we launched HOPE II that extended trade preferences for Haiti for another decade.
I am here today on behalf of President Obama and myself and the United States to commit that we will work with the people and Government of Haiti to create new jobs. I have just announced that the United States will provide $20 million for Haiti to begin building roads and other important public works.
Many years ago, my husband, Bill Clinton, and I came here right after we were married, and we had a wonderful visit and met so many people here in Haiti. And we have always felt a great sense of affection and commitment to Haiti. So I am going to work both because personally I care about Haiti, but also because now as the Secretary of State for the United States working with President Obama, we want Haiti to grow and prosper again, and for the people of Haiti to have the chance to stay at home, build families, get good jobs, and see their country once again on the right path.
Thank you for letting me come to see you, and I pledge we will do more to create more good jobs for the people of Haiti. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)