Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 8/3/2019
Haiti is one of the most open economies in the Caribbean, with a number of sectors seeking foreign direct investment. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on trade ties to its neighbors, particularly the Dominican Republic and the United States. Although the business climate is challenging, Haiti's legislation encourages foreign direct investment and the Haitian investment code provides the same rights, privileges, and equal protection to local and foreign companies. The Government of Haiti provides two types of incentives for foreign investment: customs duty incentives and income tax incentives. Import and export policies are non-discriminatory and are not based on nationality.     

President Jovenel Moïse designated agriculture, energy, transportation, and water as key investment sectors for development in Haiti in his inauguration speech February 2017.  President Moise’s stated priorities are:
  • Reform the state apparatus and maintain political and social stability;
  • Transform Haiti into an investment destination;
  • Increase agricultural production and improve the environment;
  • Build energy, transportation, and port infrastructure;
  • Reinforce water and sanitation infrastructure;
  • Improve the infrastructure and quality of the education system; and
  • Promote stability through social projects.
The United States is one of Haiti’s top trading partners. In 2018, the United States imported $991 million in goods from Haiti, up 7.8% from 2017. Of the 2018 total imports from Haiti, the United States imported $926 million in apparel from the Haitian garment sector through the HOPE/HELP and CBTPA legislation. Haiti’s garment sector remains of interest to large-scale manufacturing operations. Beyond the apparel assembly sector, the transport and telecommunications sectors attract a significant number of investors.  

Exports of U.S. goods to Haiti in 2018 totaled $1.4 billion. U.S. companies may consider exporting to Haiti for the following reasons:
  • The Haitian economy is one of the most open economies in the Caribbean;
  • Haiti offers  proximity to the United States and many Haitian businesspeople speak fluent English;
  • U.S. goods comprise over 24 percent of Haiti’s total imports;
  • Four major international security-certified ports - Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitian, Lafito, and St. Marc – provide maritime access to Haiti;
  • Two international airports (Port au Prince and Cap Haitian) offer multiple daily flights between Haiti and the United States. The airport in Cap Haitian facilitates commerce and  provides quick access to the CARACOL and CODEVI industrial parks located in free zones in the northeastern region of Haiti. 
According to the Central Bank of Haiti, Haiti’s total imports reached $4.5 billion during fiscal years (FY) 2018, while total exports were only valued at $1.1 billion. Imports represent more than 70 percent of goods sold inside Haiti.

Since July 2018, Haiti has experienced recurring public protests.  Haiti’s political and economic situation remains fragile.  According to the World Bank, the Haitian economy grew by 1.5 percent in FY2018, compared to 1.2 percent growth the year prior. The World Bank predicts that gross domestic product will grow at a rate of 0.4 percent in FY2019, hampered by the agriculture sector, which is expected to slow due to localized droughts, and the service sector, which has seen setbacks due to the impact of social unrest on tourism.

This weak performance was accompanied by a deepening of the budget deficit, which surged from 1.9% of GDP in 2017 to 4.3% in FY2018.  Increasingly, this deficit is being financed by the Central Bank. As a result, the national currency (the gourde) continues to depreciate, fueling double-digit inflation at 18% as of May 2019.  Inflation in Haiti is attributed to weak domestic production, a chronic budget deficit, and depreciation of the Haitian gourde against the USD. The depreciation of the Haitian gourde went from 67.9 in June 2018 to 93 gourdes by July 2019.  The Government of Haiti’s ability to collect taxes continues to be a challenge with internal revenue collections reaching 12.6% of GDP in 2018, according to the Central Bank, compared to 13.6% in 2017.

Haiti is vulnerable to natural disasters, including hurricanes and earthquakes.  In October 2018 the country was hit by an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude in the northern part of the country.  Injuries and fatalities were reported and 42 institutional buildings, such as schools, churches, and educational institutions were affected. 


Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.