HAITI: Garment firms eye new business opportunities
US apparel brands and retailers were among hundreds of potential investors who took part in a conference last week to explore new business opportunities in Haiti - where plans for a $2m fund to help kick-start the country's garment sector were also unveiled.
Identified as one of the key sectors with strong potential to generate jobs, garment manufacturing was one of the areas examined at the meeting, which was organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Port-au-Prince.
A $150,000 grant to examine the viability of an industrial park model for the garment industry was also announced.
Garments currently bring the country $130m in net exports, with around 25 garment factories exporting primarily to the United States and employing more than 24,000 workers, mostly women.
But there is thought to be potential to increase this five-fold with the HOPE II Act, which provides Haitian apparel exports duty-free access to the US market.
However, to fully leverage the trade benefits of the legislation, Haiti needs to attract foreign investors and expand industrial space.
"For too long Haiti has been seen as a land of missed opportunities," said IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno. "I believe Haiti is now ready and able to attract private investments."
Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis also told visitors: "Haiti is open for business."
With IDB assistance, the Haitian government is investing heavily to improve the country's business environment.
It is upgrading its road network to reduce travel time between its main cities, as well as to increase the reliability of electricity services. The government has also cut the time to start a new business by more than half.
Even so, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas, with an estimated 60% of its workforce unemployed and living on less than two dollars a day.
- Why should brands care about China cotton?
- Low labour cost countries linked to highest risks
- China cotton: implications and opportunities
- COMMENT: Skills or new technology?
- Who has signed the Bangladesh safety accord?
- South Africa to grow grass for recyclable textiles
- JC Penney share price falls on Q4 loss
- Activewear driving US apparel spend
- Delta Galil open to M&A as profit grows
- Sri Lanka and Bangladesh FTA talks underway
- Myanmar's Garment Sector - Opportunities & Challenges in 2015
- Outdoor performance apparel: peaks, valleys, and green fields
- Apparel Retail: Top 5 Emerging Markets Industry Guide
- Global market review of swimwear - forecasts to 2019
- Management briefing: Outlook 2015: Apparel industry issues in the year ahead