Haiti - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportinities
Last published date:

Despite challenges, there are opportunities in the Haitian market for small-to-medium sized U.S. businesses. Haiti imports rice, poultry meat and edible offal, sugars and sweeteners, dairy products, wheat, vegetable oils, iron and steel, vehicles, electronics, machinery, and refined fuel, among other things.  U.S. companies have notable opportunities for export of electronic products, cosmetics, poultry, telecommunications equipment, solar power system, electrical power systems, transportation equipment, grains, meat and poultry, agricultural machinery, and construction equipment.  The best prospects for major projects are in infrastructure, including road, airport, housing, telecommunications and information technology, and energy.  There is an increased demand for bulletproof windows and vehicles.  Haiti’s main import partners are the United States, Dominican Republic, Canada.

For the fiscal year 2021-2022, Haiti’s main import categories per the Central Bank were:

Food products$719.53 million
Drinks and tobacco$36.16 million
Inedible raw materials$59.57 million
Fuel$889.82 million
Fat, edible oils$112.7 million
Machine and transport materials$417.43 million

The apparel assembly sector, with its industrial parks and free trade zone facilities, is the most developed and promising opportunity in the manufacturing sector in Haiti according to the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel.  About two-thirds of Haiti’s duty-free exports of textiles and apparel enter the United States through the preferences in the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement and Haiti Economic Lift Program (HOPE/HELP) Acts and about one-third enter via the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) preferences. U.S. apparel imports from Haiti quadrupled after the CBTPA and HOPE I/HOPE II/HELP programs were implemented, from $231 million in 2001 to 94 percent of all U.S. imports from Haiti and $1.0 billion of Haiti’s exports to the U.S..

Emerging sectors in Haiti include regional and onsite energy production, agribusiness, and light manufacturing.  There is strong demand in Haiti for power generation equipment, including renewables, energy efficient and smart grid systems, packaging and food processing equipment, and construction materials.  

The Carrefour power plant project (in Port-au-Prince) is projected to add 120 megawatts to the metropolitan area’s electricity grid.  The first phase of the Carrefour thermal power plant includes two turbines capable of running on liquified natural gas, liquified petroleum gas, or diesel to generate 60 total megawatts. Other sectors with growth potential include apparel, agribusiness, business process outsourcing (BPO), infrastructure development, real estate and construction.The government of Haiti has made limited efforts to improve telecommunication infrastructure and internet connectivity.

One of Haiti’s’s greatest assets is its flexible, trainable, and often multilingual workforce, the labor force is estimated at 4.5 million.  The country’s population of over 11 million is very young, with approximately 55 percent of the population under the age of 30, and 40 percent between ages 30 and 65, with a strong desire for work.  Haiti is also recognized for its heritage in the areas of crafts, artisan-level industry, and processing of products.  The Haitian government’s Center for the Facilitation of Investment (CFI) also reports a stable labor force. However, the apparel industry has been hardly hit by recent socio-economic challenges causing many companies to lay-off workers or to put them on furlough.  Other assets as reported by the Center for the Facilitation of Investment CFI are:

  • 10,000 hectares of productive land available.
  • Micro-climates that offer year-round possibilities for production of a wide range of products.
  • Large quantities of land un-spoilt by chemicals, perfect for organic production.

USAID Initiative: Haiti INVEST

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched in 2019 Haiti INVEST, an initiative to attract private capital and credit for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Haiti.  Haiti INVEST is a platform that facilitates and mobilizes financing for investment in high-potential sectors such as alternative energy and agriculture.  First, it helps prepare growth-oriented SMEs to raise debt and equity, and access financing that would otherwise not occur, thereby increasing competitiveness in target sector enterprises.  Second, the project builds local capacity to mobilize financing through partnerships with business advisory service providers, transaction advisors and financial institutions as they originate, structure, and close complex transactions.  For example, Haiti INVEST pays transaction fees on results achieved, such as business plans produced and transactions closed.  Third, Haiti INVEST has created a convening body of key stakeholders, including other donors, financial institutions, chamber of commerce and foundations to come up with or reinforce solutions to address barriers to financing and investment for local SMEs, such as a fund to channel diaspora capital to the sector.  For more information, please contact Marie-Renee Vertus at USAID at mvertus@usaid.gov.