Haiti’s Center for the Facilitation of Investments (CFI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoA) with the Association of Industries of Haiti (ADIH) and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in an effort to renew existing free-trade agreements with the U.S. and attract investments in the country’s rapidly developing textile and apparel sectors.
Since 2010’s deadly earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s garment industry has grown by 45 percent, employs nearly 35,000 workers and, according to the IADB, accounts for as much as 90 percent of the country’s exports.
Under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, the 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) and the 2010 Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP legislation) allow most Haitian garments to enter the U.S. duty-free. Haiti’s apparel exports to the U.S. rose by 9 percent to $45 million in January—but to stitch a more sustainable industry and boost its economic recovery, the country needs to attract more private capital and move into high-end apparel making. Currently, the sector cranks out cheap tees for such North American companies as Gildan, Hanes, Target, Walmart and Fruit of the Loom, to name a few.
“The apparel and productive sector is a key provider of employment in the Haitian economy and as this government seeks to increase employment, we are happy to be able to continue pursuing the critical investments the sector needs,” CFI director general Norma Powell told Haiti Libre.