Job creation is one of the biggest challenges facing Haiti, with an estimated 40 percent of the population unemployed. From a peak employment in the garment sector of 100,000 in the early 1980s, employment in this sector has declined due to embargoes, insecurity, and lack of investment. U.S. trade preferences, enacted through the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE), HOPE II, and Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010 (HELP) legislation have made Haiti a more attractive place to invest, with 8,000 new apparel sector jobs created since 2008.
In its National Action Plan, the Government of Haiti expressed its desire to create centers of economic development outside of Port-au-Prince to spur economic growth and bring jobs to Haiti’s underserved regions. The Caracol Industrial Park is a step toward achieving this goal, bringing together the Haitian and U.S. governments, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd.―Korea’s leading garment manufacturer. This major public-private partnership is expected to bring permanent jobs to Haiti. The park is projected to initially create 20,000 permanent jobs through Sae-A’s investment alone. Ultimately, the industrial park has the potential to create up to 65,000 direct jobs once fully developed. In 2012, the park began operations as well as manufacturing activities.
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting several key interventions to prepare for and support the park.