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Haiti

Executive Summary

Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola located in the Caribbean Basin. The Haitian economy, a private sector-led and free market system, is mainly driven by its traditional agricultural sector, construction, commerce, and the manufacturing industry. The Government of Haiti (GOH) initiated numerous measures to maintain macroeconomic stability and to establish a legal framework for long-term private sector led and market based economic growth. The ultimate objective is to transform Haiti into an emerging economy by 2030. The GOH also focused on reinforcing public financial management, strengthening the establishment of the Treasury Single Account, and improving the business environment for private sector development. The government is seeking to spur job creation and encourage economic development through foreign trade and investment. The Haitian Central Bank (BRH) continues to follow a contractionary monetary policy on containing inflation and tightening legal reserve requirements. Its main challenge, however, is to maintain monetary stability while public authorities urge it to uphold anti-inflationary measures in response to a chronic budget deficit, the economic implications of Hurricane Matthew, and increasing global commodity prices.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow increased slightly to USD 104 million in 2016, making Haiti one of the smallest recipients of FDI in the region. Despite Haiti’s favorable policies toward FDI, Haiti’s rates of FDI inflow are indicative of a slow-growing economy and an unstable political environment. The GOH designated tourism, agriculture, construction, energy, and manufacturing as key investment sectors, and supports sector-focused investment promotion, public spending, and special economic zones. The GOH established the Center for Facilitation of Investment (CFI) to improve Haiti’s investment climate, and to assist investors interested in doing business in Haiti. The CFI introduced a series of measures, including pre-registered services, to expedite the processes involved in starting a business. To simplify the process even further, CFI also eliminated the step requiring the executive branch to review the incorporation draft before final publication. As a result of these measures, CFI reported an increase in foreign companies that expressed interest in exploring business opportunities in Haiti in 2016. According to CFI, most businesses that explored investment in Haiti in 2016 were interested in the garment sector and in business process outsourcing (BPO).

In 2016, Haiti’s economy grew by 1.4 percent, a deceleration compared to Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 when the economy grew at a rate of 1.8 percent. The 2016 growth rate is attributed to a volatile exchange rate, the continued reduction of external financial assistance, political instability, and severe drought conditions in FY 2015 that destabilized agricultural production. Annualized consumer price inflation moderated to 14.3 percent at the end of December 2016 because of weak domestic production, a chronic budget deficit, food price pressures and the depreciation of Haitian Gourde against the USD. As of March 2017, Haiti’s net international reserves stood at USD 845 million compared to USD 844 million in February 2017. The World Bank (WB) predicts that gross domestic product (GDP) will be between two and three percent in 2017, despite previous predictions, immediately following the hurricane, of a 0.6 percent contraction. Improving the investment outlook for Haiti in 2017 requires the GOH to enact reforms that improve Haiti’s business and political environment.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 159 of 175 http://www.transparency.org/
research/cpi/overview
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business” 2017 180 of 190 doingbusiness.org/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2016 N/A https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
analysis-indicator
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 N/A http://www.bea.gov/
international/factsheet/
World Bank GNI per capita 2016 $810 http://data.worldbank.org/
indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Toward Foreign Direct Investment

Haiti’s legislation encourages foreign direct investment. Import and export policies are non-discriminatory and are not based on nationality. Haitian and foreign investors have the same rights, privileges and equal protection under the 1987 investment code. The GOH made some progress in recent years to improve the legal framework, create and strengthen core public institutions, and enhance economic governance. The Haitian Central Bank (BRH) continues to work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to implement measures aimed at creating a stable macroeconomic environment. Policies include reducing interest rates to facilitate access to credit and stabilizing the exchange rate. The 2015-2016 political instability and transitional government limited the GOH’s impact on initiatives and stalled efforts to modernize Haiti’s commercial, investment, and tax laws. As of December 2016, foreign debt reached over USD 2.07 billion, mainly in support of the country’s infrastructure and rebuilding efforts. Seventy-five percent of these debts are owed to Venezuela through the Petro Caribe program.

The Government of Haiti is working on new laws to improve the legal framework and incentives for investment in Haiti. Anti-money laundering and anti-corruption laws were passed by the government to ensure that Haiti’s legislation corresponds with international standards. In early 2017, the Parliament enacted legislation making electronic signatures and electronic transactions legally binding. Other pieces of legislation that may improve Haiti’s investment climate are pending parliamentary approval, including incorporation procedures, a new mining code, and an insurance code. The Government of Haiti also continues to improve Haiti’s infrastructure by rebuilding and rehabilitating its roads, hospitals, and ports.

CFI was established to promote investment opportunities in Haiti. CFI’s major activities include: streamlining the investment process by simplifying procedures related to trade and investment, providing updated economic and commercial information to local and foreign investors, and promoting investment in priority sectors. The Government of Haiti seeks investments that will spur job creation and boost national production in agriculture, textiles, business process outsourcing (BPO), and tourism. The GOH wants to redirect CFI’s focus towards legal reform, and the promotion of domestic and international investment with continued emphasis on public relations. CFI also offers personalized services for large investors interested in Haiti. In 2015, the World Bank recognized CFI as a regional leader in the online promotion of investment.

CFI offers a wide range of support and services to foreign investors. The Director General oversees the agency, including decisions to offer tax incentives to new businesses. The Director of Promotion works to attract new businesses to Haiti while the Director of Facilitation coordinates public sector agencies and administrative entities to ensure that CFI is following-up with businesses in a timely fashion.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Investors in Haiti can create the following types of businesses: sole proprietorship, limited or general partnership, joint-stock company, public company (corporation), subsidiary of a foreign company, and co-operative society. The most commonly used business structures in Haiti are corporations. The Societes de Droits law, which would facilitate the creation of other types of businesses in Haiti, such as LLCs, has been drafted and submitted to Parliament for approval.

Foreign investors are permitted to own 100 percent of a company or subsidiary. As a Haitian entity, such companies enjoy all rights and privileges provided under the law. Additionally, foreign investors are permitted to operate businesses without equity-to-debt ratio requirements. Accounting law allows foreigners to capitalize using tangible and intangible assets in lieu of cash investments.

Foreigners are free to enter into joint ventures with Haitian citizens. The distribution of shares is a private matter between the two parties. However, the State regulates the sale and purchase of company shares.

Entrepreneurs are free to dispose of their properties and assets, and to organize production and marketing activities in accordance with local laws.

The Haitian government does not impose discriminatory requirements on foreign investors. Haitian laws related to residency status and employments are reciprocal. Foreigners who are legal residents in Haiti and wish to engage in trade have, within the framework of laws and regulations, the same rights granted to Haitian citizens. However, Article 5 of the Decree on the Profession of Merchants reserves the function of manufacturer’s agent for Haitian nationals.

Foreign firms are also encouraged to participate in government-financed development projects. Performance requirements are not imposed on foreign firms as a condition for establishing or expanding an investment, unless indicated in a signed contract.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The Organization for Economic Growth and Cooperation (OECD) assessed Haiti’s investment climate in 2001. Since then, there have not been any reviews of Haiti’s investment environment. The study stressed that political instability, weak institutions, and inconsistent economic policies impede the country’s ability to drive foreign direct investment. The International Finance Corporation and the WB’s Investment Climate Advisory Services are supporting the Haitian government’s plans to implement integrated economic zones (IEZ) throughout Haiti. Haiti is also working with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to implement an investment promotion strategy to foster the expansion of bilateral trade, and the development of border-zone industrial parks to make Haiti more competitive.

The World Trade Organization’s latest 2015 Trade Policy Review reveals that Haiti’s Investment Code and Law on Free Trade Zones is fully compliant with the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs).

Business Facilitation

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s (MCI) internet registry allows investors to search for or verify the existence of a business in Haiti. The registry will eventually provide on-line registration of companies through an electronic single window. The single window is part of a project sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that seeks to reduce the time needed to register a limited liability company in Haiti to 10 days. At present, it takes between 70 and 90 days to complete registration with the Commercial Registry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and obtain the authorization of operations (Droit de fonctionnement). CFI also offers a service providing pre-registered and fully authorized companies classified in seven different sectors, including manufacturing, agribusiness, and real estate.

Businesses, both foreign and domestic, can register at the CFI: http://cfihaiti.com/ . All businesses must register with the Ministry of Commerce, Haitian tax office, National bank, social security office, and retirement insurance office. According to the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report, it can take 97 days to start a business in Haiti.

Haiti defines micro-enterprises as less than five employees, and medium sized enterprises as less than 20. The Ministry of Commerce offers some technical and financial assistance to small and medium sized businesses. The micro park program, supported by the IDB and the European Union (EU), also includes the use of business incubators by offering technical, administrative and financial support to enhance job creation and domestic production. The program calls for the creation of 42 micro parks in four priority sectors, including agribusiness, mechanical, bio-technology and manufacturing over the course of five years. However, this program stalled due to the political situation and the new government is considering continuing the previous administration’s efforts.

Outward Investment

Neither the law nor the Haitian government restricts domestic investors from investing abroad. Still, Haiti’s outward investment is limited to a few small enterprises with no significant investment. Most of the firms involve individuals who happen to have dual citizenship or people with Haitian background who reside in the country where the firms operate. The majority of these businesses are service providers. There is no current program or incentive in place to encourage Haitians entrepreneurs to invest abroad.

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Haitian laws are transparent and theoretically universally applicable, but legal enforcement is not universally applied nor observed. The bureaucracy and “red tape” in the Haitian legal system is often excessive.

Tax, labor, health, and safety laws and policies are theoretically universally applicable. However, they are not universally applied, observed, or enforced. Many in the private sector provide services, such as health care, for employees that Haitian government agencies do not insure.

Draft bills or regulations are available to the public through Le Moniteur, which is the official journal of Haiti. Le Moniteur contains public agency rules, decrees, and public notices that the Les Presses Nationales d’Haiti (PNd’H) publishes.

International Regulatory Considerations

Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), created in 1989, aims to advance the region’s integration into the global economy by facilitating free trade in goods and services, and the free movement of labor and capital. CSME became operational in January 2006 in twelve of the fifteen Member States. Haiti, as a member of CARICOM, expressed an interest in participating fully in CSME. However, to become eligible, Haiti is required to amend its customs code to align with the local tariffs to both CARICOM and World Trade Organization (WTO) standards. In March of 2017 Haiti notified the WTO of its intent to adjust its tariff rates to bring them in line with CARICOM CETs. The changes are under negotiation.

Haiti also adheres to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice on issues of international law, and of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for the settlement of trade disputes within CARICOM.

Haiti is an original member of the WTO. As such, it has made several commitments to the WTO in regards to the financial services sector. These commitments include allowing foreign investment in financial services, such as retail, commercial, and investment banking, and consulting. Until recently, before the acquisition of Scotia Bank, there were two foreign banks operating in Haiti: Citibank of the United States and Scotia Bank of Canada. Haiti has also committed to notifying the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of all draft technical regulations.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

As a former French colony, Haiti adopted the French civil law system. The Supreme Court, also known as the Superior Magistrate Council, is the highest court of the nation, followed by the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance. Haiti’s commercial code dates back to 1826 and underwent significant revisions in 1944. There are few commercial legal remedies available. Inadequate law enforcement mechanisms, outdated laws to handle modern commercial practices, and a weak judicial system severely compromise the protection and guarantees that Haitian laws extend to investors. Injunctive relief is based upon penal sanctions rather than securing desirable civil action. Similarly, contracts to comply with certain obligations, such as commodities futures contracts are not enforced. Haitian judges do not have specializations, and their knowledge of commercial law is limited. Utilizing Haitian courts to settle disputes is a lengthy process and cases can remain unresolved for years, and bonds to release assets frozen through litigation are unavailable. Business litigants are often frustrated with the legal process and pursue out-of-court settlements.

The Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIH), in partnership with the Haitian government and with funding from the EU, has a commercial dispute settlement mechanism – the Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber – to provide mechanisms for conciliation and arbitration in cases of private commercial disputes.

Haiti’s inefficient legal system often hinders U.S. citizens trying to resolve legal disputes. There are persistent allegations that some Haitian officials use their public office to influence commercial dispute outcomes for personal gain. However, with international assistance, the GOH is actively working to increase the credibility of the judiciary and the effectiveness of the national police.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The Investment Code prohibits fiscal and legal discrimination against foreign investors. The code explicitly recognizes the crucial role of foreign direct investment in promoting economic growth. It also aims to facilitate, liberalize, and stimulate private investment, and contains exemptions to promote investment that will enhance competitiveness in sectors deemed priorities, especially export-oriented sectors. Tax incentives, such as reductions on taxable income and tax exemptions, are designed to promote private investment. Additionally, the code grants Haitian and foreign investors the same rights, privileges and equal protection. Foreign investors must be legally registered and pay appropriate local taxes and fees.

The code also established an Inter-Ministerial Investment Commission (CII) to examine investor eligibility for license exemptions as well as customs and tariff advantages. The Prime Minister, or his delegate, chairs the CII, which is composed of representatives of the Ministries of Economy and Finance, Commerce, and Tourism, as well as those ministries that oversee specific areas of investment. The CII must authorize all business sales, transfers, mergers, partnerships, and fiscal exemptions within the scope of the code. The CII also manages the process of fining and sanctioning enterprises that ignore the code.

Investment in certain sectors, such as health and agriculture, requires special Haitian government authorization. Investment in “sensitive” sectors, such as electricity, water, and telecommunications, requires a Haitian government concession as well as an authorization from the appropriate state agency. In general, the GOH considers natural resources as State property. Accordingly, exploring or exploiting mineral and energy resources requires concessions and permits from the Ministry of Public Works’ Bureau of Mining and Energy. Mining, and operating permits may only be granted to firms and companies established in Haiti.

Haitian law is deficient in a number of areas, including operation of the judicial system; publication of laws, regulations, and official notices; establishment of companies; land tenure and real property law and procedures; bank and credit operations; insurance and pension regulation; accounting standards; civil status documentation; customs law and administration; international trade and investment promotion; foreign investment regulations; and regulation of market concentration and competition. Although these deficiencies hinder business activities, they are not specifically aimed at foreign firms; they appear to affect both foreign and local companies equally.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

There is currently no law to regulate competition. Haiti is one of the most open economies in the region. The investment code provides the same rights, privileges and equal protection to local and foreign investors. Anti-corruption legislation also criminalizes nepotism and the dissemination of inside information on public procurement processes. Haiti does not have an Anti-Trust law.

Expropriation and Compensation

The 1987 Constitution allows expropriation or dispossession only for reasons of public interest or land reform and is subject to prior payment of fair compensation as determined by an expert. If the initial project for which the expropriation occurred is abandoned, the Constitution stipulates that the expropriation will be annulled and the property returned to the original owner. The Constitution prohibits nationalization and confiscation of real and personal property for political purposes or reasons.

Title deeds are vague and often insecure. The Haitian government has an office National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INARA) to implement expropriations of private agricultural properties with appropriate compensation. The agrarian reform project, initiated under the Preval administration (1996-2001), was controversial among both Haitian and U.S. property owners. There are complaints of non-compensation for the expropriation of property. A revision of the land tenure code is expected to address current issues related to the lack of access to land records, surveys, and property titles in Haiti. A recent partnership between the private sector, the GOH, and international organizations developed a useful guide formalizing land tenure.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

In 2009, Haiti ratified the 1965 International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between states and nationals of other states (ICSID). Under the convention, foreign investors can call for ICSID arbitration in case of dispute with the state. The Haitian government appears to recognize that weak enforcement mechanisms and a lack of updated laws to handle modern commercial disputes severely compromises the protections and guarantees that Haitian law extends to investors.

Haiti is not a signatory to the Inter-American-U.S. convention on International Commercial Arbitration of 1975 (Panama Convention).

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Haiti is a signatory to the 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards, which provides for the enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate present and future investment disputes. Under the convention, Haitian courts can enforce such an agreement by referring the parties to arbitration. Disputes between foreign investors and the state can be settled in Haitian courts or through international arbitration, though claimants must select one to the exclusion of the other. A claimant dissatisfied with the ruling of the court cannot request international arbitration after the ruling is issued.

The law provides mechanisms on the procedures a court should follow to enforce foreign arbitral awards issues. In recent years, there have not been any investment dispute cases involving the Haitian government and foreign investors.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

International arbitration is strongly encouraged as a means of avoiding lengthy domestic court procedures. The Haitian Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber created in October 2007 provides mechanisms for conciliation and arbitration in private commercial disputes.

Haiti is actively working with the international community to create a domestic culture that accepts international arbitration as an effective means for dispute resolution. In 2005, The Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIH) and the IDB jointly worked to develop the Conciliation and Arbitration Court of Haiti (CCAH). The Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber provides mechanisms for conciliation and arbitration in cases of private commercial disputes. Foreign judgments are enforceable under local courts.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Haiti’s bankruptcy law was enacted in 1826 and modified in 1944. There are three phases of bankruptcy under Haitian law. In the first stage, payments cease and bankruptcy is declared. In the second stage, a judgment of bankruptcy is rendered, which transfers the rights to administer assets from the debtor to the Director of the Haitian Tax Authority (Direction Generale des Impots, or DGI). In this phase, assets are sealed and the debtor is confined to debtor’s prison. In the last stage, the debtor’s assets are liquefied and the debtor’s verified debts are paid. In practice, the above measures are seldom applied. Since 1955, most bankruptcy cases have been settled between the parties.

Although the concepts of real property mortgages and chattel mortgages – pledging of personal property, such as machinery, furniture, automobiles, or livestock to secure a mortgage – exist, real estate mortgages involve antiquated procedures and may fail to be recorded against the debtor or other creditors. Property is seldom purchased through a mortgage and secured debt is difficult to arrange or collect. Liens are virtually impossible to impose, and using the judicial process for foreclosure is time consuming and often futile. In order to make progress in this area, Haiti needs to enact a credit bureau law and create an electronic collateral registry. Banks frequently require that loans be secured in U.S. dollars.

Debts are normally paid in Haitian gourdes (HTG).

5. Protection of Property Rights

Real Property

Real property interests are affected by the absence of a comprehensive civil registry. Legitimate property titles are often non-existent. If they do exist, they often conflict with other titles for the same property. Verification of property titles can take several months or longer. The U.S. Embassy regularly receives reports of fraudulent or fraudulently recorded land titles. Mortgages exist, but real estate mortgages are expensive and involve cumbersome procedures. Additionally, mortgages are not always properly recorded under the debtor or creditor’s name.

Intellectual Property Rights

Haitian law protects copyrights, patent rights, and inventions, as well as industrial designs and models, special manufacturers’ marks, trademarks, and business names. The law penalizes individuals or enterprises involved in infringement, fraud, or unfair competition; however, enforcement is weak. Haiti is a signatory to the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910, the Paris Convention of 1883 regarding patents, and the Madrid Agreement regarding trademarks. Haiti has ratified the Bern Copyright Convention.

The current draft trademark law appears to reflect the Haitian government’s determination to revise its intellectual property legislation in accordance with its international agreements. As noted, weak enforcement mechanisms, inefficient courts, and judges’ inadequate knowledge of commercial law may impede the effectiveness of statutory protections.

Resources for Rights Holders

For more information concerning intellectual property rights, please contact the U.S. Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Specialist at PAPECON@state.gov

Haitian Copyright Office (BHDA)
Ministry of Culture and Communication
http://bhdahaiti.com/ 
31, Rue Cheriez
Canape-Vert
Port-au-Prince
HAITI (West Indies)
(509) 2811 0535
(509)2811 5626
bhda.gouv@gmail.com

Director General/Directrice Generale: Mrs. Emmelie Phrophete Milce
Industrial Property Offices
Intellectual Property Service, Department of Legal Affairs
Ministry of Trade and Industry
http://www.mci.gouv.ht/ 

Parc Industriel Metropolitain (SONAPI),
Route de l’aeroport
Port-au-Prince
(509) 2943 1868
(509) 2940-0726
rodrigue.josaphat@mci.gouv.ht
mcihaiti@yahoo.fr

Director of Legal Affairs/Directeur des Affaires Juridiques: Mr. Rodrigue Josaphat

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/ .

9. Corruption

Haiti’s 2014 anti-corruption legislation criminalizes nepotism, the sharing of inside information on public procurements initiatives and public contracts, bribery and money laundering. The Government of Haiti made incremental efforts to eliminate corruption in the private and public sector, including establishment of the Specialized Unit to Combat Corruption (ULCC) in the public sector. In 2015, the National Commission for Public Procurement was created to promote fairness and to ensure that government contracts are awarded through effective procurement procedures. The measure requires that government contracts be awarded through a competitive bidding, and that the ULCC publishes the list of awarded contracts in the public register. Additionally, the ULCC issued a code of ethics that set professional standards for public servants. Private companies are also encouraged to promote the same code of conduct in their workplace and build on the principles the code outlines.

Haitian law, applicable to individuals and financial institutions, criminalizes corruption and money laundering. The Government of Haiti criminalizes bribes or attempted bribes toward a government employee and these acts are punishable by the criminal code (Article 173) for one to three years of imprisonment. The law also contains provisions for the forfeiture and seizure of assets. The government openly affirms a firm commitment to combat corruption. However, weak enforcement mechanisms often impede their efforts. There are serious allegations that some government officials are accustomed to bribes, and often use their authority to influence commercial and business decisions. A small number of U.S. firms also alleged that corruption is a major impediment to doing business in Haiti, especially in clearing shipments through customs. The Government of Haiti has made incremental progress in enforcing public accountability and transparency, but substantive institutional reforms are still needed.

Haiti is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS Convention), and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UN Convention).

Resources to Report Corruption

Any corruption-related activity can be reported to the Haitian Anti-Corruption Unit, responsible for combatting corruption, or Transparency International’s branch in Haiti, Haiti Heritage Foundation, which monitors corruption:

Rodiny Jean Baptiste
Director General
Unite de Lutte Contre la Corruption
13, rue Capotille, Pacot, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: (509) 2811-0661 / (509) 4890-3647
Email address: info@ulcc.gouv.ht

Marilyn B. Allien
President
Fondation Heritage pour Haiti
Petion-Ville, Haiti
Telephone: (509) 3701-7089
Email address: admlfhh@yahoo.com/heritagehaiti@yahoo.com

Some useful resources for individuals and companies regarding combating corruption in global markets include the following:

10. Political and Security Environment

Despite have a newly installed government in 2017, Haiti’s political situation remains unstable. Frequent cabinet changes, and poor relations between Parliament and the Executive Branch have hindered both reconstruction efforts and passage of important legislation. Political violence has been limited in scope, but is still a common occurrence, particularly during elections. The GOH needs to improve the capacity of Haitian law enforcement to deter and prosecute violent crime.

There are no cases of political groups targeting foreign projects and/or installations. Historically, and continuing into early 2017, politically and socio-economically motivated civil disorder, such as periodic demonstrations triggered by government proposals to increase fuel prices and labor strikes, sometimes interrupted normal business operations. Establishing and safeguarding real property rights in Haiti remains a very significant problem, given extremely weak registry and judicial capacity in country.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The special legislation of the Labor Code of 1984 establishes and governs labor regulations. Under the Code, the Minister of Social Affairs (Mast) enforces the law and maintains good relationships with employers and workers. The Haitian constitution guarantees the right to labor union, including collective bargaining, fair wages and social security. Normal working hours consist of eight-hour shifts and 48 hour work weeks. However, the Government of Haiti is considering reforming the current labor code to include three eight-hour shifts rather than a one eight-hour shift. Workers are entitled to a minimum wage of 300 HTG or USD. The remuneration for night shift hours (6PM – 6AM) is 50 percent higher than the amount paid during day time hours. Workers’ social protection and benefits include annual leave, sick leave, health insurance, maternity insurance, insurance in case of accident at work, and other benefits for unfair dismissal.

Labor unions are generally receptive to investment that creates new jobs, and support from the international labor movement, including the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the International Trade Union Confederation (AFL-CIO and ITUC), is building the capacity of unions to represent workers and engage in social dialogue. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is revising a new labor code that will better comply with international labor standards. Preparations for the 2015 and 2016 elections, as well as multiple changes in the Minister of Labor during the same period stalled the revision of the labor code.

Relations between labor and management in Haiti are at times strained. In some cases, however, industries have autonomously implemented good labor practices. For example, the apparel assembly sector established its own voluntary code of ethics to encourage its members to adopt good labor practices. In addition to local entities, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has an office in Haiti and operates an ongoing project with the assembly industry to improve productivity through improvement in working conditions. The initiative prompted ILO to officially launch Better Work Haiti, a program that designed to ensure compliance with international labor standards and spur jobs creation in the garment sector over the next ten years.

Since the inception of Better Work Haiti, the garment sector saw a 50 percent improvement in occupational safety and health across the factories. Employers have doubled their efforts to improve chemical safety, and over 95 percent of local factories initiated proper policies to strengthen a safer work environment as well as providing good working conditions to garment workers. Wages vary depending on the economic sector. As of May 2015, the minimum wage for the garment sector is 300 HTG for eight hours of work or (approximately USD 4) in the textile industry. However, approximately two-thirds of those employed in the textile sector earn 350 HTG per day given production incentive bonuses. Better Work Haiti’s annual report found the majority of factories in compliance with the labor law. The report is available at: http://betterwork.org/global/?p=7201 .

Haiti’s apparel industry expanded in recent years, and now counts several local and foreign manufacturers, including U.S., Dominican, and Korean investors, which produce a wide range of clothing articles. The sector has notable strengths and advantages, such as an abundant workforce, duty-free access to the U.S. market, and the Better Work Haiti program. Measures are currently underway to enhance the technical skills of the Haitian workforce. The South Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), for example, funded the construction of an apparel training center in the Caracol Industrial Park in Northern Haiti.

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) offers insurance against political risks and financing programs for U.S. investments in Haiti. OPIC financing includes two programs: direct lending and investment guarantees. Direct loans are available to investment projects sponsored by or significantly involving U.S. small businesses. Investment guarantees are available to U.S. eligible investors of any size. OPIC has invested more than USD 223 million in 78 projects in Haiti over 40 years, in infrastructure, renewable resources, and other sectors.

OPIC has an on-lending facility with Citibank available to several Caribbean countries, including Haiti. OPIC guarantees loans totaling USD 100 million, with up to 20 percent of this amount available for Haiti. The OPIC risk share for the facility ranges from 25 to 75 percent for each loan.

Haiti is a member of the WB’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). MIGA guarantees investments against non-commercial risks and facilitate access to funding sources including banks and equity partners for investors.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($B USD) 2016 $8.26 2016 $8.26 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or international Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2016 $104 2016 $104 BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm
 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm
 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2016 N/A N/A N/A N/A

* Sources: http://data.worldbank.org/country/haiti  http://www.brh.net/balance_des_paiements.html 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Data not available.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Investment Climate Statements
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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future