Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’


Haiti Uses a Bit of MAGIC to Energize their Textile Industry

August 25, 2011

Amelia Baines is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs in the International Trade Administration

Despite seemingly overwhelming odds, Haiti continues its road to recovery. This struggling nation is slowly rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in 2010. While the Haitian government and economy is still on the road to recovery, Haiti’s textile and apparel industry continues to grow, even with the challenges posed by insufficient infrastructure and potential customer’ concern about the country’s recovery. As Haiti’s largest employer, continued expansion of the textile and apparel sector could infuse the economy with the growth it so desperately needs. Haiti is a prime location for business ventures, new industries, as well as exports. This small nation is surrounded by water and has a large sea port where their main exports are various types of textiles.Map of Haiti

The Haitian textile and apparel industry is the country’s largest manufacturing sector, and employs more than 28,000 workers, and apparel constitutes more than 80 percent of all Haitian exports to the United States.  In 2010, exports of Haitian apparel valued more than $550 million, and looks to be increasing in 2011. Growth in the apparel industry could be the catalyst to the Haitian economy potentially employing 150,000 people within years and bring.

The United States is Haiti’s number one trading partner and textiles accounts for more than half of all exports. Other major items exported include oil, mangoes, cocoa, and coffee. The United States receives more than 70 percent of these exports with another 9 percent going to the Dominican Republic and 3 percent to Canada. The vast majority of Haitian apparel is exported to the United States, the world’s largest apparel market.

Since 2000, the United States has implemented several trade preference programs to facilitate trade with Haiti. Under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, Haiti HOPE and HELP, apparel from Haitian manufacturers has unprecedented duty-free access to the U.S. market.  These trade preferences have been the fuel for the growth of the Haitian economy.  In 2010, imports of Haitian apparel into the United States valued more than $500 million, representing more than 90 percent of exports to the United States. Virtually all of these imports were provided duty-free treatment under U.S. trade preference programs. Trade data indicates that imports from Haiti are increasing over last year, and there is growing interest in the apparel industry from the United States and other foreign investors. The Haitian apparel industry is poised to grow stronger than it has been in decades.

Magic Show Floor in Las VegasTo help Haitian manufacturers make the most of their opportunities with importers, retailers and brands, participation in trade events that showcase their capabilities is essential. MAGIC, held in Las Vegas just this week, is largest textile and apparel trade show held in the United States, with tens of thousands of attendees from over 80 countries, generating more than $200 million in per-day order volume. This year, with the assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Haitian apparel manufacturers participated in SOURCING at MAGIC, and have the opportunity to connect with 85 percent of the top 50 retailers to build new relationships.  SOURCING at MAGIC highlighted Sourcing in the Americas, which promotes and highlights opportunities in the Western Hemisphere’s supply chain. The potential for new business from MAGIC is one that Haitian manufacturers are eager to develop.

However, SOURCING at MAGIC is not the only big news going on it Haiti today. The Haitian government is very excited about the major contraction of their first industrial park, which is due to begin in 2012. All credits go to Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd., Korea’s leading garment manufacturer, who closed a deal with Development Bank to build an industrial park in the Haiti’s North Corridor.  Representatives are anticipating that the park will create 20,000 full-time Haitian jobs in the first phase, making Sae-A’s the largest private employer in Haiti. Also generate $500 million in wages and benefits in the next ten years, with each worker earning 3-4 times more than Haiti’s current GDP. The industrial park will also include the construction of at least 5,000 new homes.  And lastly directly support the livelihoods of 100,000 to 120,000 Haitians. Now equipped with the proper tools and support Haiti will surly make and speedy and promising recovery. The United States and supporters of Haiti are eager to see what’s next in Haiti.


Rebuilding Haiti, Stitch by Stitch

May 25, 2011

Maria Dybczak is an international trade specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel.

Today my office, the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), gave a virtual welcome to about 85 people as they participated in a one-hour Webinar on U.S. trade preferences for imports of Haitian textiles and apparel. The participants came from both the private and public sectors, and included representatives of leading U.S. retailers and importers, U.S. and Haitian manufacturers, as well as Congressional committee staff and senior officials from other U.S. agencies.

Ever since the earthquake of January 2010 that brought such incredible devastation to Haiti, ITA has been working closely with other federal agencies, the Haitian government, and U.S. retailers and importers to encourage recovery and to better assure the long-term sustainability of the Haitian economy.

One of these efforts is focused on the Haitian textile and apparel industry. Apparel makes up more than 80 percent of imports from Haiti to the United States. And as the largest manufacturing sector in Haiti, the apparel industry plays an important role in attracting long-term investment and opportunities.

The availability of duty-free access to the United States, the world’s largest apparel market, provides an enormous competitive advantage to Haitian producers. As a result, the value of apparel imports from Haiti increased by 20 percent over the past 12 months, representing nearly $600 million. It has been estimated that new development in the textile and apparel sector could create at least 20,000 new jobs in Haiti by 2013.

It’s trade such as this—which builds on Haiti’s existing economic strengths—that will help Haiti recover from the devastation of a year ago.

If you would like to listen to an audio recording of the Webinar, or see a copy of OTEXA’s presentation, they will both be available on the OTEXA website by the end of this week.


Marking Milestones in Social Media

December 9, 2010

Valeisha Butterfield is the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration

Today we mark a milestone in our social media channels with more than 1,000 followers on twitter/, nearly 100 entries and 500 comments on our blog, and more than 1,000 fans on our face book page The conversations we’ve had in these areas are key to ensuring all of our customers are kept abreast of the amount of activity, requests for input and issues of importance to them and us.

Some of the more lively discussions we’ve had on the blog include our call for ideas for President Obama’s National Export Initiative, last year’s Green Build Road Show that took readers virtually to five cities in two weeks eventually reporting directly from the ground in Phoenix, AZ at the Green Build Conference and Expo, and the conversation on relief efforts and opportunities to help rebuild Haiti.

Moving forward, we will be keeping you up to date on the developments in the Korea-US Trade Agreement, the upcoming APEC meetings hosted by the United States in 2011 and some innovative videos that will teach you how to make international sales without leaving the U.S. We enjoy being in touch with our clients, customers, stakeholders, and international buyers in many ways and if you have suggestions on how we can be more innovative and interactive, we’d love to hear your suggestions.


Secretary of Commerce Hosts Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue

April 30, 2010

Jennifer Wenger started working for the International Trade Administration one year ago.  She is an international trade specialist in the Market Access and Compliance unit’s Office of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue.  Hosted on April 20 by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, with keynote remarks by Haitian Minister Patrick Delatour, the event yielded an overwhelming 400 attendees who came with an interest in leveraging private sector participation to assist in Haiti’s rebuilding.   Representatives of the U.S. and Haitian business communities engaged in a lively dialogue with private sector and U.S. government panelists.  The unexpected presence of recording artist Wyclef Jean added some starpower to the program, including his “tweets” to his 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

Download full video .mp4 (88MB)

Attendees used every free moment to network.  During the Q&A, the audience members asked great questions about the meaning of the international community’s pledges and where to learn about procurement opportunities.   USAID’s Haiti Task Team Coordinator Paul Weisenfeld explained that the $1.15 billion pledge made by the U.S. Government must be approved by Congress before these monies become available to fund projects.  Other panelists pointed the participants to useful websites or provided guidance on submitting proposals. Despite the devastating losses that the people of Haiti experienced and the challenges ahead, the tone of panelists, participants and especially Minister Delatour, was hopeful.  Minister Delatour cited the Port-au-Prince Hotel Montana, which was destroyed in the earthquake, as “a symbol of the resilience” of the Haitian population as he reported that the hotel’s owners have declared their intention to rebuild.  The Minister emphasized that the goal is to not just to rebuild but to “build back Haiti better.”

Download full video .mp4 (88MB)

Secretary Locke stressed the importance of supporting Haiti as an Administration priority and addressed the private sector saying, “You will play a critical role in providing these opportunities through trade and investment that will benefit people in both Haiti and the United States.”   Participants and speakers alike agreed that the governments, NGOs and the private sector must work cooperatively to rebuild an economically sustainable Haiti.

Download full video .mp4 (88MB)


U.S. Business Opportunities for Haiti Reconstruction

April 19, 2010

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Walter Bastian is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Western Hemisphere, a part of Market Access and Compliance.

On January 12, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake.  With more than 230,000 lives lost, it is among the ten worst natural disasters in recorded history, and the worst ever felt in the Western Hemisphere.  In this island nation, the poorest in our Hemisphere before the quake, an estimated 1.3 million are now homeless.  In the path of rebuilding lie 20 to 25 million cubic yards of rubble which – according to the Washington Post  – is enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome five times or cover the National Mall to a height of 700 feet.

A recent study by the Inter-American Development Bank estimates that the cost of reconstruction in Haiti could reach $14 billion.  If Haiti is to be “built back better,” there is little question that private sector investment will have to play a key role.  The below events strive to engage the U.S. business community, which I believe is still the most dynamic, and innovative in the world, to consider doing business in Haiti.  I am confident that if the Haitian Government and international community succeed in providing a framework of security, stability and transparency, the U.S. private sector will play a leading role in building a new Haiti.

Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue (April 20)

Secretary of Commerce Locke will host the Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue for all U.S. businesses interested in learning more about opportunities associated with Haiti’s reconstruction.  Participants will hear from the leaders of several major companies doing business in Haiti.  In addition, officials from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank will discuss financing, political risk insurance, infrastructure-related feasibility studies, and the ourcome of the March International Donors’ Conference.  Haitian Minister of Tourism Patrick Delatour, who is charged with leading Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, will deliver the keynote address. For more  information, contact: or 482-3547.

 U.S. Business Interest Conference (June 9-11)

The U.S. Commercial Service, American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic, and American Chamber of Commerce of Haiti will be holding a business interest conference on June 9-11, 2010.  The purpose of this conference is to disseminate information on Haiti-led rebuilding strategies, and the plans and procurement practices of the multilateral lending institutions and the donor community, including the UN, World Bank, IDB, and USAID.   For more information on this conference or to register your interest and receive updates:

The Department of Commerce will continue to monitor the reconstruction process as opportunities develop for U.S. businesses, including U.S. Government procurement opportunities and opportunities funded by international development banks.

Local Events for Haiti Reconstruction

Subsequent events will be held in Brooklyn, NY on May 10, Miami, FL on May 25, and Philadelphia, PA on June 7.

For New York:

For Miami:

For Philadelphia: