Haiti - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges
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Although Haiti offers an open economy in principle, there are serious barriers to commerce and foreign investment in the country, including corruption, gang violence, political instability, and a burdensome bureaucracy. 

U.S. firms entering the market in Haiti will face multiple challenges.  The lack of reliable security, electricity, fuel, and water often means companies provide their own supplies.  Armed gangs frequently disrupt business transportation routes resulting in significant losses of revenue, decreasing profit margins, and high overhead costs.  Many businesses reported difficult and slow customs clearance processes, which resulted in long waits for imported products to become available.  Companies often arrange for a local agent who can facilitate the process. Corruption often affects business activity.  Laws are applied inconsistently, and the judicial process is slow.  Companies as a result often find a local legal advisor necessary.

The most common concerns expressed by foreign investors include:

Political instability;

  • Insecurity, crime, and gang violence;
  • Road blockages
  • Fuel shortages;
  • Recurrent strikes in public offices;
  • Unavailability of foreign currencies for exchange; 
  • Widespread corruption;
  • Lack of transparency in governmental tender procedures;
  • Unreliable electricity from the grid and high cost of onsite electricity generation; 
  • Haiti’s need for improved port entry and generally poor infrastructure, including a lack of internet connectivity; 
  • High obstacles to credit and the lack of a national credit bureau;
  • Frequent land disputes, in part due to the lack of effective cadastral and civil registries, as well as inefficient civil dispute resolution.

Given the challenging business environment and despite investment-friendly policies, Haiti usually receives relatively modest levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).  It has recently experienced over a 100 percent increase, from $23 million in 2020 to $50 million in 2021, according to The United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

Haiti’s official languages are French and Creole.  U.S. companies seeking to do business in Haiti may require interpreter services when interacting with official public offices.


Haiti experienced recurring fuel shortages throughout 2021 and 2022. In September 2022, the government removed three essential fuel subsidies, hiking retail fuel prices by 74.3 percent on average and enhanced market stability.  The retail prices for gasoline, diesel, and kerosene are fixed in gourdes by the government at a rate that frequently requires government intervention or subsidies to maintain. These fuel subsidies contributed to the government’s budget deficit and devalued the  gourde.  Along with budgetary issues Haiti experienced severe fuel shortages that contributed to instability, pressure at pumps, and a growing fuel black market.  To address fuel related issues the government increased pump prices and implemented macro-economic policies, which improved fuel availability in 2023.  Five companies are allowed to import fuel directly, placing the orders via  the Monetization Office of Development Assistance Programs (BMPAD) which launches tenders for the premium every two months.  Higher international fuel oil prices could mean the return of government fuel subsidies and lead to more fuel shortages since the government fixes pump prices and responds slowly to market price pressures. The official market fixed price  in Haiti is lower than the international market at 570 HTG/gal (U.S. $4.22).