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.
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.