11 /January / 2005
SUPREME COURT RULING GUARANTEES JUSTICE FOR INVESTORS
The Honduran Supreme Court has ruled by majority vote that Decree 90-90 is not, in fact, unconstitutional, as was alleged by opponents of the law, which was designed to establish regulations for the foreign ownership of property in urban areas. Tourism Ministry Thierry de Pierrefeu says the ruling should give foreign investors “total tranquility and security. When you’re attracting foreign investors the most important thing is that they be ensured justice.”
Had the decree been ruled unconstitutional, several investments currently being developed in Honduras would have been halted because their foreign owners would not have been allowed to buy or lease the land on which they are located. This would have included several maquila operations near San Pedro Sula and a number of African palm, cultivated shrimp and electric energy projects. The foreign ownership restriction would have covered all property located on Honduran territory within 40 kilometers of a national boarder or coastline.
Today the maquila industry alone employs 120,000 Hondurans. If it weren’t for Decree 90-90 many of these operations would not exist. More than 75% of Honduras’ GDP is located on 56.2% of the country’s territory, much of which is located within 40 kilometers of a border or coastline.
The law allowing foreign ownership of lands within the 40-kilometer zone was approved by the National Congress in 1990.