Who we are?

The Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area (SACOC) was founded in 2001 as a non-profit business organization. The founders were part of a coalition of entrepreneurs whose sole purpose was to create a unified organization to promote trade, investment and joint ventures. Mr. Oscar Amaya, a Salvadoran-American entrepreneur, was elected as the organization’s first President. He implemented an operational plan, which included a functioning office that provided an essential resource outlet for Salvadoran businesses and trade enterprises to help meet the challenges of the business environment. The office opened its doors in Alexandria, VA during the first year of Mr. Amaya’s term as president. The office provided important services such as financial consultations, legal services, general business and government information, and technical assistance. During that first year key members of the group used their extensive expertise to provide valuable services to newcomers. This initiative not only brought unity of purpose to the organization, but also ensured wide recognition across the community within a very short period of time.

In 2002, Mr. Carlos Aragon, the owner of a local radio station, was named the organization’s second president. During his presidency, there was a surge of new Salvadoran businesses, which became very successful and well known across the metropolitan area. The Chamber made significant strides to track the progress of most businesses, in order to create unification in addition to expanding upon the organization’s well-established prestige.

In 2003, Mr. Elmer Arias, another well recognized altruist and businessman, was elected as the Chamber’s third president. He provided sound leadership over the next five years in furthering the Chamber’s mission to the business community. Mr. Arias focused on enhancing public awareness of the past achievements and future potential of the organization through social outreach as well as significant contributions to the community.

In 2008, Mr. Charles Vela, an extraordinarily successful scientist, undaunted partner to the U.S. Department of Defense contracting community, strategic thinker, and highly professional businessman, was named the Chamber’s fourth president. Mr. Vela’s important contributions to the Chamber focused on the implementation of a strategic overarching multi-year plan that would establish the Chamber members as premier resources for dramatically increasing business opportunities, especially for contracting with the myriad of agencies in the U.S. government.

In 2009, Mr. Henry Bonilla, a widely recognized entrepreneur within the local business community, became the Chamber’s fifth president. As a diligent businessman serving major corporations and government agencies, he is aiming to re-establish the Chamber’s importance to the local community as a leader in assisting the high quality. Mr. Bonilla focused his efforts on expanding international trade opportunities for the organization’s members while enhancing the representation of society’s interest in the Salvadoran business community.

In 2014, Mr. Carlos A. Romero, a renowned economist, business owner, Wall Street trader and former Bank Advisor for The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, U.K., was named the Chamber’s sixth and current president. Mr. Romero is frequently interviewed on CNN International, Univision and RT on matters relating to international financial markets and investments. Mr. Romero’s mission is to increase the Chamber’s national footprint in the U.S.A. and to establish bilateral economic relationships with our counterpart business owners in El Salvador. Hence, leveraging our mutual economic strength to enhance the prosperity and the wealth of Salvadoran-owned businesses while solidifying the probabilities of business success for the current and next generation of Salvadoran American business owners.

Now in its second decade, the Chamber has grown into a unique non-profit organization operating with strong local membership and a first rate international network that can effectively serve the Salvadoran-American business community in bridging the gap in resources needed to meet the regulatory and fiscal challenges in the current economic climate.

Our Philosophy

We have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.



  • Connections with other Members
  • Relationships with Major Business Entities
  • Customer Loyalty & Branding
  • Access to Growth Opportunities
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Organizational Capacity & Access to Resources
  • Diversified Portfolio of Revenue
  • Leverage to Influence Business Terms of Reference.