December 23, 2022
News Release 22-140
Contact: Elizabeth Nesbitt, 202-205-1819
USITC Releases Report Concerning the Impact of U.S. Preference Programs on Haiti’s Economy and Workers
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today released its report U.S.-Haiti Trade: Impact of U.S. Preference Programs on Haiti’s Economy and Workers (Inv. No. 332-590). This investigation and report were requested by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means in a letter received on February 22, 2022.
As requested, the USITC, an independent nonpartisan factfinding federal agency, conducted an investigation to gather information on and analyze Haiti’s economy and trade. This report provides information and analysis on the Haitian economy, U.S. preference programs that benefit Haiti, the impacts of these preference programs on Haitian industries and workers, and case studies on key industries.
The report finds that U.S. preference programs have played an important role in the trade relationship between the United States and Haiti and the development of Haiti’s apparel sector, helping this sector continue to attract investment despite a difficult political and social landscape and risks of natural disasters. Highlights from the report include:
- Haiti experienced a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) following the implementation of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE I) in 2006, HOPE II in 2008, and the Haiti Economic Lift Program Act (HELP) in 2010. Haiti’s FDI stock grew rapidly during this time, about 17 percent per year, from $300 million in 2006 to $1.74 billion in 2017. However, political instability, insecurity due to increased gang activity, and disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have all contributed to an investment slowdown.
- U.S. imports from Haiti generally increased after the implementation of each U.S. preference program from 1980 to 2021. U.S. apparel imports from Haiti quadrupled after the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and HOPE I/HOPE II/HELP programs went into effect, increasing from $231 million in 2001 to $994 million in 2021, with T-shirts accounting for a large proportion of the increase. In 2021, 23.6 percent of total imports ($260.4 million) entered the United States under the CBTPA program and 67.9 percent ($751.3 million) under the HOPE I/HOPE II/HELP program.
- Apparel employment fell sharply in the 1990s as a result of the trade embargo imposed in 1991. Apparel employment partially recovered after implementation of the HOPE I/HOPE II/HELP Acts. As of 2021, the garment industry is once again one of the largest sources of formal employment, providing 53,000–57,000 jobs and supporting more than 450,000 people in the country.
- An analysis of Better Work Haiti compliance assessments since 2009 shows low levels of noncompliance with International Labour Organization core labor standards (forced labor, child labor, freedom of association, collective bargaining, and gender discrimination) but generally high levels of noncompliance with respect to compensation and safety-related metrics. Union representatives and NGOs have indicated that labor issues persist.
U.S.-Haiti Trade: Impact of U.S. Preference Programs on Haiti’s Economy and Workers (Inv. No. 332-590, USITC Publication 5397, December 2022) is available on the USITC website at: https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub5397.pdf.
USITC general factfinding investigations cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.
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