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Haiti, one of the most urbanized nations in Latin America and the Caribbean region, occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Haiti’s investment climate offers opportunities but also major challenges for U.S. investors. The opportunities offered by ample arable land and young population are countered by endemic corruption, poor infrastructure, instability, violence in the capital, high inflation, and the migration of thousands of skilled Haitian private sector and medical sector workers.

Despite efforts by the Haitian government to achieve macroeconomic stability and sustainable private sector-led and market-based economic growth, Haiti’s investment climate is characterized by an unstable national currency (Haitian gourde, or HTG), persistent inflation, high unemployment, political uncertainty, and insecurity. The 2020 global outbreak of the coronavirus, multiple national lockdowns that paralyzed economic activities, and the delayed resolution of the political crises following former president Jovenel Moise’s assassination further complicated the Haitian government’s capacity to achieve macroeconomic stability, create jobs, and encourage economic development through foreign trade and investment. As a free market system, the Haitian economy traditionally relies on the agriculture, construction, and commercial sectors, as well as the export-oriented apparel assembly industry in the north of the country. However, the proliferation of gangs in metropolitan Port-au-Prince and persistent roadblocks put in place by the gangs along the main north and south access routes to the capital create major challenges for goods to freely circulate in the country. Haitians and expatriates perceived to have access to wealth are the targets of kidnapping for ransom, with some Haitian gangs showing increased sophistication in conducting complex kidnappings that can overcome traditional mitigation methods such as the use of armored cars. The DC-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative for Haiti said security problems are making it increasingly hard for the IDB to continue working in Haiti, as gangs increase their activities. A significant portion of their local staff have already quit, and those that remain either want to live in secured hotels or leave the country. The World Bank is also facing the same problem with their local staff, while many of their foreign staff work from overseas.

Although the business climate is challenging, Haiti’s legislation encourages foreign direct investment. The government has prioritized building and improving infrastructure, including boosting energy production, and has additionally designated agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism as key investment sectors. The latter revealed itself to be particularly challenging, given the current security situation and potential for civil unrest. Agricultural producers reduced their production as road blockages prevent movement of goods toward the capital. Several years of drought, have also reduced the crop production capacity of the country’s arable land and an El Nino climatic event is anticipated in 2023.

The Haitian investment code provides the same rights, privileges, and equal protection to local and foreign companies. Under Haitian law, Haiti’s business climate affords equal treatment to all investors, including women, minorities, and foreign nationals.

Political uncertainty has increased as insecurity and gang violence increase, and democratic elections are delayed. The absence of a stable government that could create long-term economic policy complicates the workings of an already opaque bureaucracy. On February 6 2023, Prime Minister Ariel Henry installed a High Transition Council (HCT) made up of three representatives chosen on a consensual basis whose job will be to prepare for presidential and legislative elections. While the country maintains a liberal trade and foreign exchange regime, and largely adheres to World Bank programs to fight poverty, continuing reports of corruption and financial mismanagement have raised challenges for investment and investors.

The Government of Haiti (GoH) Post-COVID Economic Recovery Plan (PREPOC 2020-2023) included the textile sector as one of the most important means for achieving economic transformation and diversification in country. However, due to supply chain and fuel problems, many companies have had to reduce staffing while a small number have closed operations entirely.

According to the World Investment Report 2021 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to Haiti rose to $50 million in 2021 from $23 million in 2020, a 117 percent increase. In the recent past, Haiti has been unable to increase its domestic production, and as a result most of its consumer products are imported. The impact of the war in Ukraine has been severe on Haiti’s economy and a contributing factor to inflation reaching an all-time high. The cost of imported goods has risen significantly, and according to data published by The Haitian Institute of Statistics and Technology (IHSI) the year-to-year inflation from January 2022 to January 2023 is 49.3 percent, whereas imported inflation accounts for 61.5 percent. Gang control of transportation routes used to support supply chains has also contributed to inflation. Five million Haitians face food insecurity, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor – nearly half the population. Russia’s war in Ukraine has additionally disrupted security equipment trade between Haiti and its partners, depriving the nation of necessary assistance.

Haiti’s net international reserves were around $227.2 million as of September 30, 2022. Improving the investment outlook for Haiti requires political and economic stability, underscored by the enactment of institutional and structural reforms that can improve Haiti’s business and political environment. The Haitian economy showed a negative GDP growth of 1.7 percent in 2019, (3.3 percent in 2020; 1.8 percent in 2021, and 1.7 percent in 2022).

The United Nations uses the human development index (HDI) to measure the progress of a country and Haiti was measured at 0.535 points in 2021, placing it 163rd out of 191 countries ranked.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 164 of 180 
Global Innovation Index N/A N/A 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 $26.0M 
World Bank GNI per capita  2021 $1,430 

Government spending, fiscal discipline and inflation:

The Ministry of Finance (locally known as the MEF) signed an agreement with the Central Bank (BRH) in November 2020 to strengthen fiscal discipline and limit government monetary financing. The Ministry of Finance also implemented measures to improve revenue collection and control spending. From October 2021 – January 2022 government spending was $213.1 million (21.3 billion gourdes) whereas, for the same period ending January 2023, spending went down to $83.76 million dollars (12.3 billion gourdes), a 42 percent decrease. On the other hand, for the first 5 months of fiscal year 2022-2023 revenue collected increased by 36 percent compared to the same period for fiscal year 2021-2022. These numbers show there is a willingness from the government to implement unpopular financial austerity measures and increase tax and tariff collection.

For the Fiscal Year 2021-2022, the Central Bank loaned $408.7 million dollars (47 billion gourdes) to the Government of Haiti, significantly increasing inflation. The goal for fiscal year 2022-2023 has been to limit the Central Bank financing at $228.67 million dollars (34.3 billion gourdes). As of March 2022, monetary financing from the Central Bank decreased by 60 percent over the same period the previous year and has reached 21 percent of the $228.67 million dollars cap.

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Haiti’s legislation encourages foreign direct investment (FDI). Import and export policies are non-discriminatory and are not based on nationality. Haitian and foreign investors have the same rights, privileges, and protections under the 1987 investment code. 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 common business structure in Haiti is corporation.

The Government of Haiti 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 continues to work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to implement measures aimed at creating a stable macroeconomic environment. A draft law (Société de Droits law), which would facilitate the creation of other types of businesses in Haiti, such as LLCs, remains pending parliamentary approval when parliament is restored.

June of 2022, the IMF executive board approved a Staff Monitored Program (SMP), an arrangement between Haiti’s authorities and the IMF to monitor the implementation of the government’s economic program. The SMP aims to help the government restore macroeconomic stability in order to lower inflation. Other goals of the SMP include enhancing governance in the public sector, mobilizing domestic revenues and boosting social spending. In December of 2022, the IMF approved the first review of Haiti’s SMP. Another review took place in April 2023.

While not discriminatory towards international investment specifically, the Government of Haiti’s economic policies fall short of providing a sound enabling environment for foreign direct investment. Despite the Central Bank’s periodic interventions in the foreign exchange market, the Haitian Gourde has tended to, with some variation, to depreciate against the U.S. dollar. From March 2022 to March 2023, the benchmark rate of the Central Bank went from 104HTG per $1 to 153HTG per $1, while the parallel rate floated around 165 HTG per $1.

Despite passing anti-money laundering and anti-corruption laws to ensure that Haiti’s legislation corresponds with international standards, the government has not strictly followed the legal framework of these laws and has failed to incentivize investment in Haiti. Corruption continues to be endemic, and the rule of law is weak in a country with a poorly functioning judicial system.

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 remain pending, including incorporation procedures, a new mining code, and an insurance code.

The Center for the Facilitation of Investments (CFI), which operates under the Haitian Ministry of Commerce, was established to promote domestic and international investment opportunities. In concept, the CFI could streamline the investment process by working with other government agencies to simplify procedures relative to trade and investment; providing updated economic and commercial information to local and foreign investors; making proposals on investor incentives; and promoting investment in priority sectors. The CFI aims to offer tailored services to large international investors.

In practice, the CFI has made limited progress to incentivize job creation and boost national production in agriculture, apparel assembly, and tourism. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haiti’s Tourism Association reported a 60 percent loss of jobs in the sector in 2019, a situation that has gotten worse since 2021 especially after the degradation of the security situation with new gang roadblocks on the northern access of Port-au-Prince. Many businesses reported difficult and slow customs clearance processes, resulted in long waits for imported products to become available.

The most common concerns expressed by foreign investors include political instability, insecurity, crime and gang violence, road blockages, and fuel shortages. U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince’s Economic Section assessed the rapid loss of human and financial capital is in part due to increasing security challenges. Companies are relocating to neighboring countries, or their top-level management live outside of Haiti, flying into country intermittently.

The apparel sector, the largest formal private sector provider of jobs has encountered operating difficulties due to insecurity and gang violence, and recurring fuel shortages with adverse effect on contracts and employment. Haiti has experienced fuel shortages since the price of petroleum soared in the international market 2022. However recent shortages are also tied to challenges within the Government’s fuel policy, contributing to instability, pressure at the pumps, and the growing fuel black market. As a result, the Central Bank regularly injects its foreign net reserves into the fuel industry to provide access to dollars at preferential rates. Moreover, there is a growing need to decentralize fuel infrastructure and build fuel terminals in Cap Haitian and Les Cayes, which are the 2nd and 3rd largest cities after the Capital, reducing national dependence on violence-ridden Port-au-Prince.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

The Haitian government does not impose discriminatory requirements on foreign investors. 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. Both Haitian and foreign investors enjoy the same rights and privileges. However, foreign investors residing in Haiti must obtain a residence permit and are expected to pay duties and taxes, in accordance with the scales and regulations applicable. Foreign investors are free to own real estate for the needs of their businesses and enjoy the same rights and prerogatives as Haitian investors. The reimbursement of debts contracted abroad for investments made in Haiti are not subject to any constraint or taxation.

Haitian laws related to residency status and employment 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 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.

Foreign investors are free to enter joint ventures with Haitian citizens. The distribution of shares is a private matter between the two parties. However, the government regulates the sale and purchase of company shares. Investment in certain sectors, such as health and agriculture, requires special Haitian government authorization. Investment in “sensitive” sectors such as electricity, water, telecommunications, and mining require a Haitian government concession as well as authorization from the appropriate governmental agency.

In general, natural resources are the property of the state, and the exploitation of mineral and energy resources requires concessions and permits from the Ministry of Public Works’ Bureau of Mining and Energy. Mining, prospecting, and operating permits may only be granted to companies established and resident in Haiti. The establishment of new industrial mines cannot take place until an elected parliament passes an updated mining law, along the lines of a draft law initially presented in 2017. Entrepreneurs are free to dispose of their properties and assets and to organize production and marketing activities in accordance with local laws.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In general, Haiti’s political instability, weak institutions, and inconsistent economic policies impede the country’s ability to attract and direct foreign direct investment.

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2015 Trade Policy Review stated that Haiti’s Investment Code and Law on Free Trade Zones is fully compliant with the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures. The full report can be viewed at  .

Business Facilitation

The Center for Facilitation of Investments (CFI) in Haiti was created by presidential decree in 2006 under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It is the national investment promotion agency that works to attract investments that contribute to the development of the country, diversify the economy, strengthen supply chains, and generate jobs. The CFI´s main mandate is to promote investments and help potential investors find and take advantage of opportunities in Haiti. The Department of Facilitation of CFI aims, through an Investor Pack that is updated periodically, to support investors through their investment decision-making process by providing them technical and administrative assistance.

In the handbook investors find:

  • Information about Haiti’s current “investment climate.”
  • Help to ensure smooth entry and establishment of an investment project, including providing information and assistance with acquiring permits and licenses, as well as with business registration processes.
  • Assistance with identifying suitable sites for a proposed investment project and support with legal and regulatory frameworks and processes.
  • General information to benefit from Haiti’s fiscal incentives regime

CFI collects no fees for the services provided to investors. CFI representatives may be available in Port-au-Prince, Gonaives and at investment summits as well as trade shows around the world.

While the Haitian government has made efforts to facilitate the launching and operating of businesses, the average time to start a business in Haiti is 189 days, according to the now-discontinued World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business Report.  At present, it takes between 90 and 120 days to complete registration with the Commercial Registry at the Ministry of Commerce and obtain the authorization of operations (Droit de fonctionnement).  The CFI offers a service providing pre-registered and fully authorized companies in manufacturing, agribusiness, and real estate the opportunity to reduce their registration time.  Once the Inter-Ministerial Investment Commission validates these established companies, the shares are transferred to the new owners.

Both foreign and domestic businesses can register at Haiti’s CFI:  All businesses must register with the Ministry of Commerce, the Haitian tax office, the state-owned Banque Nationale de Crédit, the social security office, and the retirement insurance office.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry verifies companies that want to do business in Haiti and provide them with information on the ways to register their companies and how to submit their applications and supporting documents.  In October 2020, CFI launched Spotlight, an initiative with the aim of promoting visibility of companies already established in Haiti and registered in the CFI database.

There are several options available to investors in Haiti, both local and international, who would like to set up a business in Haiti:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Registered Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Corporation
  • Subsidiary of a Foreign Company

Outward Investment

Neither the law nor the Haitian government restricts domestic investors from investing abroad.  Haiti’s outward investment is limited to a few enterprises with small investments.  These investors are generally businesspersons with dual citizenship and others of Haitian origin who presently reside in the country in which their firms operate.  Most of these firms are service providers and not investment firms.  There is no current program or incentive in place to encourage Haitian entrepreneurs to invest abroad.  

Like with many countries, Haiti has a signed bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in place with the United States. The United States is Haiti’s most important trade partner with approximately 80 percent of its manufactured merchandise exported to the United States. Haiti also has a BIT in force with the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Haiti has signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, which included 14 other Caribbean countries in December 2009, but Haiti has yet to ratify the agreement. There is no double taxation agreement between Haiti and other countries.

Haiti is a beneficiary country of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), a trade preference program enacted by Congress in October 2000. In 2020, the U.S. Congress renewed CBTPA legislation to extend preferences through 2030. The CBTPA provides duty-free treatment to apparel wholly assembled, knit or knit-to-shape in certain beneficiary countries in the Caribbean, if the apparel uses U.S. fabrics and yarns.

In December 2006, Congress enacted the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity for Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006, commonly referred to as HOPE. HOPE amended the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and authorized the President to extend additional trade preferences to Haitian-manufactured apparels HOPE preference programs are separate programs added as part of CBERA and do not replace those provided by the CBTPA.

In June 2008, Congress enacted the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246). Title XV, Subtitle D, Part I of the Act contains amendments to the established special rules for imports of apparel and other textile articles from Haiti, which can be found in 19 U.S.C. §2703a. Commonly known as the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008 (HOPE II), these amendments expanded the preferences originally established under HOPE, and created four new preference categories for Haitian-manufactured apparel. HOPE II enables the Haitian textile industry to benefit from tariff advantages with the condition that the Haitian government and eligible producers comply with internationally recognized labor standards. HOPE II allows for duty-free entry into the United States of a limited number of garments imported from Haiti, if 50 percent of the value when imported originates in Haiti, the United States, or another country that has a free trade agreement with the United States.

The Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP), an act passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010 in response to the apparel industry’s needs following the devastation of the January 2010 earthquake, extends HOPE II tariff advantages through 2025. These trade preferences have been instrumental to the development of Haiti’s apparel sector, which accounts for over 85 percent of the national export earnings and over 59,060 job creation since December 2021. The HOPE and HELP Acts are critical in continuing Haiti’s recovery and sustained growth for Haiti’s economy and the legislation is currently in the U.S. Congress for early renewal but has not been voted on yet.

During the last 40 years, the apparel industry has played a central role in Haiti’s overall economy, accounts for 80 to 90 percent of the country’s total export which helped raised $1.01 billion in revenue in 2020. The HOPE and HELP Acts’ trade preferences are the cornerstone of the textile sector and are due to expire in 2025 if not extended. Given that the textile industry and Haiti’s economy rely heavily on trade preferences with the United States, the textile companies and some government officials are very concerned of a potential expiration of the HOPE and HELP trade preferences. Due to continuous fuel problems causing supply train reduction, apparel exports have greatly reduced, many companies in the industry have had to reduce staffing with a few having closed operations entirely.

The legislation introduced in Congress in December 2023 to reauthorize the HOPE and HELP Acts would ensure the bill to benefit both programs are maintained until 2035.

Haiti does not have a U.S. Income Tax Treatise:—A-to-Z 

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Haitian laws are written to allow for transparency to be applied universally however corruption is endemic Haitian officials do not uniformly enforce these laws, and the bureaucratic “red tape” in the Haitian legal system is often excessive. Tax, labor, health, and safety laws and policies are loosely enforced. The private sector often provides services, such as healthcare, to employees that are not entitled to coverage under Haitian government agencies or institutions. All regulatory processes are managed exclusively by the government and do not involve the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

Draft bills or regulations are available to the public through “Le Moniteur,” the official journal of the Haitian government, and information is sometimes made available online.  Le Moniteur contains public agency rules, decrees, and public notices that Les Presses Nationales d’Haiti published.

According to the World Bank, Haitian ministries and regulatory agencies do not develop forward regulatory plans, nor do they publish proposed regulations prior to their adoption. Haitian law does not require a timeframe for public comment or review of proposed regulations. More information can be found at 

International Regulatory Considerations

Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization of 15 states and dependencies established to promote regional economic integration. 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 12 of the 15 member states. CARICOM Secretary-General ambassador Irwin LaRocque expressed his desire to have Haiti increase its participation in the regional Single Market and Economy in 2020 however noted that while significant efforts have been made towards the full integration of Haiti into the CSME, the task is not yet completed. Haiti must amend its customs code to align with CARICOM and WTO standards.

Haiti is an original member of the WTO. As such, it has made several commitments to the WTO regarding the financial services sector. These commitments include allowing foreign investment in financial services, such as retail, commercial, investment banking, and consulting. One foreign bank, Citibank, operates in Haiti, and primarily offers corporate banking services. Haiti has committed to notifying the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of all draft technical regulations. However, Haiti is not party to the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Judicial power is exercised by the Superior Magistrate Council. Eight new Supreme Court judges were appointed by government decree in February 2023, bringing the Supreme Court number to 11 out of 12 judges. The president of the Supreme Court, who chaired the special hearing said the investiture will allow the highest judicial body in the country to resume function in 2023. Its operations, organization and competence are set by law. The Supreme Court is the highest court and Haiti’s Superior Magistrate Council, followed in descending order by the Court of Appeals, and the Court of First Instance.

Haiti’s commercial code dates to 1826 and needs revision. There are a few commercial laws in place and no commercial courts. 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. Bonds to release assets frozen through litigation are unavailable. Business litigations are most often pursued through out-of-court settlements.

Haiti’s legal system often presents challenges for U.S. citizens seeking to resolve legal disputes. In Haiti, judges are appointed for a set number of years. Public prosecutors are direct employees of the Ministry of Justice and can be transferred or suspended by the executive branch at any time. There are numerous allegations of undue political interference. Additionally, there are persistent claims that some Haitian officials use their public office to influence commercial dispute outcomes for personal gain. The Haitian government receives international assistance to increase the capacity of its oversight institutions and the capacity of the national police.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Haiti’s Investment Code established an Inter-Ministerial Investment Commission (CII) to examine investor eligibility for license exemptions as well as customs and tariff advantages. The Center for Facilitation of Investments (CFI) is the Technical Secretariat of the CII. 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 disregard the code.

The following areas are often noted by businesses as challenging aspects of Haitian law: 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; rather, they appear to affect both foreign and local companies.

Competition and Antitrust Laws

There is currently no law to regulate competition. Haiti is one of the most open economies in the region. Anti-corruption legislation criminalizes nepotism and the dissemination of inside information on public procurement processes but is seldom enforced. Haiti does not, however, have anti-trust legislation.

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 established the National Institute of Agrarian Reform 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 have been complaints of non-compensation for the expropriation of property. Moreover, a revision of the land tenure code, intended to address issues related to the lack of access to land records, surveys, and property titles in Haiti, has been pending in parliament since 2014. A partnership between the private sector, Haitian government, and international organizations resulted in a guide on security land rights in Haiti, which was translated in 2016 and can be found here: .

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 for disputes with the state, but 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 Arbitral 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.

While there is no consistent history of extrajudicial action against foreign investors, several investment dispute cases have been reported by U.S. companies over the past 10 years. Most disputes were related to disagreements between business owners and Haitian tax and licensing authorities. Lack of clarity as to land ownership and other disputed property claims, and disputes over the enforcement of government contracts and concessions were also reported. Although some businesses were able to resolve disputes through the court system or settled with the Haitian government, most business owners appear to have accepted their losses and abandoned other legacy cases. The most recent expropriation claims by the Haitian government occurred in 2013. That specific expropriation later stalled and has yet to be completed to the full extent that the government anticipated.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

International arbitration is strongly encouraged as a means of avoiding lengthy domestic court procedures. In principle, foreign judgments are enforceable under local courts. In 2005, the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Inter-American Development Bank jointly developed the Haitian Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber, which provides mechanisms for conciliation and arbitration in private commercial disputes. This approach offers many benefits that allows the parties to find their own solution to their disputes.

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 to be made 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 Directorate of the Haitian Tax Authority (Direction Generale des Impots). In this phase, assets are sealed, and the debtor is confined to debtor’s prison. In the last stage, the debtor’s assets are liquidated, and the debtor’s verified debts are paid by the Directorate of the Haitian Tax Authority prorated according to their right. The debtor is released from prison once 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.

The practice of mob looting remains a means for some to express their frustration with the country’s social inequities. Many companies went bankrupt after being attacked by violent protesters. Lack of insurance coverage and the complexity of compensation proceedings make it difficult for many to restart their businesses. The state does not have a court assessing the losses of businesses for state financial compensation for bodily or patrimonial damages. While the provisions of Article 356 of the Haitian Penal Code states perpetrators should be punished in hard labor in perpetuity, many of these crimes remained unsolved.

Although the concepts of real property mortgages and chattel mortgages – based on collateral of movable 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. Banks frequently require that loans be secured in U.S. dollars.

Investment Incentives

Despite the significant risks foreign investors face due to instability, weak rule of law endemic corruption, poor infrastructure and chronic instability, Haiti offers a highly competitive incentive package for investors as outlined in the Haitian Investment Code of 2002 and in the Free Zone Law of 2002. The Center for Facilitation of Investments (CFI) is the Governmental body awarding competitive incentives.

General privileges granted by the Haitian Investment code of 2002 are as follows:

  • Total exemption from income taxes for a period which should not exceed 15 years
  • Accelerated depreciation of properties, equipment, hardware, software, and some expenses
  • Exemption from local taxes, except for the License to Operate (Patente) which should not exceed 15 years
  • Each eligible sector is also allocated specific incentives

In order to attract investment in Haiti, the Investment Code privileges eligible firms with customs, tax, and other advantages. Investments that provide added value of at least 35 percent in the processing of local or imported raw materials are eligible for preferential status.

Eligibility Conditions

A company interested in doing business in Haiti must issue a request to CFI’s General Director along with the following documents:

  • Feasibility study
  • Business plan (over a five-year period)
  • Form outlining the incentives applicable to the related sector (form available at CFI)
  • Detailed list of equipment, material, and commodities to be imported
  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s authorization and copy of official publication “Le Moniteur”, in which the company’s bylaws are published
  • Copy of newspaper publication of the legal notices of registration for limited partnerships and partnerships
  • If company is a sole proprietorship: a copy of business name certificate issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
  • Tax identification card
  • Fiscal Clearance (Quitus Fiscal)
  • Opening balance sheet
  • Income tax statement of the company’s board members or partners Center for facilitation of investments

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

To date, Haiti has issued free trade zone licenses for the following areas:

  • FTZ de Trou du Nord, the first agricultural free trade zone, in North-East department.
  • FTZ CODEVI in the northeastern city of Ouanaminthe, North-East department, where a Dominican company, Grupo M, manufactures clothing for a variety of U.S. companies and rents factory space to several American and foreign companies.
  • FTZ Lafito: in Douillard, Cabaret, West Department. Lafito is the home of the Haiti’s only Panamax seaport. Port Lafito is located 12 miles north of Port au Prince and includes port facility business services that cater to bulk and loose cargo imports, as well as terminal services to worldwide container service shipping lines FTZ Hispaniola in the Route 9 Cité Soleil area of Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ SIDSA in the Tabarre area of Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ de Digneron : in the Croix-des-Bouquets area of Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ Santo Dujour located in the Croix-des-Bouquets area of Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ HEH Les Palmiers in the Carrefour area of Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ Balan in Ganthier, West Department.
  • FTZ Savane-Diane, an agro industrial free trade zone in Artibonite Department.
  • FTZ Agritrans

An inter-ministerial commission, called the Free Zones National Council (CNZF), comprised of representatives from both the public and private sector, is responsible for:

  • Receiving applications for approval as a free zone.
  • Approving applications for admission to the free zone regime.
  • Ensuring that projects approved are carried out in accordance with relevant regulations.
  • Authorizing the operation of free zones.
  • Defining and regulating free zones.
  • Approving and monitoring procedures and operations in free zones.
  • Approving its own rules and procedures.

The Free Zones Directorate, an entity within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, acts as the CNZF’s Technical Secretariat. It implements and ensures implementation of decisions taken by the CNZF; receives investors and potential investors; sends quarterly reports on the establishment and operation of free trade zones to the CNZF for approval; examines applications for approval of free trade zone; participates in all negotiations likely to lead to agreements or conventions on free trade zones at the national and international level; monitors the operation of all free trade zones in Haiti; and ensures regular monitoring of the free trade zones.

The law provides the following incentives for enterprises located in free zones:

  • Full exemption from income tax for a maximum 15-year period, to be followed by a period of partial exemption that gradually decreases;
  • Customs and fiscal exemption (including registration taxes) for the import of capital goods and equipment needed to develop the area, with the exclusion of tourism vehicles;
  • Exemption from all communal taxes (with the exception of the fixed occupation tax) for a period not exceeding 15 years;
  • Registration and transposition of the balance due for all deeds relating to purchase, mortgages, and collateral.

Goods and services sold from free trade zones on the Haitian market are considered to have entered through Haitian customs and are subject to relevant duties and taxes. The volume of free trade zone goods allowed for sale in Haitian markets may not exceed 30 percent of the total production of an enterprise in the free zone.

It is important to note that a new law that will affect the FTZ’s is currently being drafted and is expected to be in application at some point in 2024.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Foreign firms are encouraged to participate in government-financed development projects. However, performance requirements are not imposed on foreign firms as a condition for establishing or expanding an investment, unless indicated in a signed contract. Under Haitian laws, foreign investors operate their businesses and use their assets to organize production freely. Although companies are given incentives to invest in the country, they are not forced to localize or to use local raw materials to produce goods. Foreign information technology providers are not required to turn over source code or keys for encryption to any public agencies.

Real Property

Foreign investors have noted that real property interests are affected by the absence of a comprehensive civil registry (cadastre). Lease agreement regulations are the same for locals and foreign investors. Many companies report that legitimate property titles are often non-existent and, if they do exist, they often conflict with other titles for the same property. Verification of property titles can take several months, and often much longer. Mortgage loans are rare but do exist now in Haiti unlike before, but real estate mortgages are expensive and involve allegedly cumbersome procedures. Mortgages are not always properly recorded under the debtor or creditor’s name. Banks are also risk-averse to issue loans or mortgages. Squatting is not a common practice but was popular in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Intellectual Property Rights

Measures that protect copyright for literary, scientific, and artistic works date back to a 1968 law which was amended by a 2005 decree. Haitian law protects copyright, 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. Some artists report weak enforcement mechanisms, inefficient courts, and inadequate judicial knowledge of commercial law impeding the effectiveness of statutory protections.

Haiti is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Haiti has completed accession to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Haiti is a signatory to the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910, the Patent Law Treaty, and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.

Haiti is not mentioned in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) 2023 Special 301 Report or the 2022 Notorious Markets List. For additional information about the national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at  .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The scale of financial services remains modest in Haiti. In principle, there are no limitations to foreigners’ access to the Haitian credit market, but limited credit is available through commercial banks. The free and efficient flow of capital is further hindered by Haitian accounting practices, which are below international standards. While there are no restrictions on foreign investment through mergers or acquisitions, there is no Haitian stock market, so there is no way for investors to purchase shares in a company outside of direct transactions.

Furthermore, the standards that govern the Haitian legal, regulatory, and accounting systems do not comply with international norms. Although accountants use basic accounting standards set by the Organization of Certified Professional Accountants in Haiti (OCPAH), Haitian laws do not require external audits of domestic companies. Local firms calculate taxes, obtain credit or insurance, prepare for regulatory review, and assess real profit and loss.

Administrative oversight in the banking sector is superior to oversight in other sectors. Under Haitian law, banks are not required to comply with internationally recognized accounting standards, and they are often not audited by internationally recognized accounting firms. Haiti’s Central Bank is among the few institutions which are audited by an internationally recognized accounting firm. Haiti’s central bank requires that banks apply internal audit procedures. As part of their corporate governance, all private banks also have in-house audit departments. Most private banks follow international accounting norms and use consolidated reporting principles. The Central Bank is generally viewed as one of the best-functioning Haitian government institutions.

While there are companies that issue shares and corporate bonds through financial intermediaries, these activities are often done in informal settings and through small groups in the primary market, which is any place where the bond is issued for the first time. The Central Bank is looking to expand the financial market in Haiti by creating two sub-committees for the development of financial markets and for the implementation of financial market infrastructure. Such platforms are expected to promote the mobilization and allocation of capital, long-term growth, and a solid legal, regulatory, and institutional framework.

Money and Banking System

The banking sector has concentrated on credit for trade financing and in the expansion of bank branches to capture deposits and remittances. Telebanking has expanded access to banking services for Haitians. Foreign banks are free to establish operations in Haiti. Three major banking institutions (Unibank, Sogebank, and Banque Nationale de Credit) hold most of the banking sector assets, roughly $3.7 billion dollars (554.88 billion gourdes). With its acquisition of the Haitian operations of Scotiabank in 2017, Unibank became Haiti’s largest banking company, with a market share of 35 percent of deposits. As part of this deal, Scotiabank remains one of Unibank’s international correspondent banks. U.S.-based Citibank also has a correspondent banking relationship with Unibank. The bank also manages one of the only two privatization operations in Haiti, that of the flour mill “Les Moulins d’Haiti SEM” in which it is a partner of two U.S. companies: Continental Grain/Contigroup (New York) and Seaboard Corporation (Kansas City). As of April 2023, Les Moulins d’Haiti SEM, operations were halted for six months due to the increased violence and gang intrusion of its facilities during the fall of 2022.

The three major commercial banks hold 92.20% (percent) of the country’s total loan portfolio. The concentration of holdings and limited number of borrowers increases the Haitian banking system’s vulnerability to systemic credit risk and restricts the availability of capital. The quality of loan portfolios in the banking system has deteriorated. Per the Haitian Central Bank, the ratio of nonperforming loans over total loans was 10.88 percent in February 2023, compared to 7.66 percent in February 2022. The Central Bank conducts regular inspections to ensure that financial institutions remain in compliance with minimum capital requirements, asset quality, currency, and credit risk management.

The Central Bank’s main challenge is maintaining sound monetary policy in the context of a larger-than-expected government deficit and an overall depreciating local currency. The exchange rate suffers from continued pressure on the foreign exchange market. The Central Bank has made a series of interventions with the objective of supporting the value of the gourde by increasing the dollar supply in the foreign exchange market. Selling U.S. dollars in the foreign exchange market has also allowed the Central Bank to dry up the excess liquidity of the gourde in the market with the potential effect of tempering the inflation rate. Annual inflation accelerated to 49 percent as of January 2023, remaining on an upward trend since. As of March 2023, Haiti’s stock of net international reserves was $227.2 million dollars. The reserves continued sharply declining in April 2023 due to degradation of business and the rise of the dollar rate per gourde.

There are no legal limitations on foreigners’ access to the domestic credit market. However, banks demand collateral of real property to grant loans. Given the lack of effective cadastral and civil registries, loan applicants face numerous challenges in obtaining credit. The banking sector is extremely conservative in its lending practices. Banks typically lend exclusively to their most trusted and credit-worthy clients. The foundation for the FinScope 2021 Survey was established in 2021 when MEDA and the Central Bank of Haiti signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on research initiatives. Based on a 2018 study by FinScope Haiti, 11 percent of the adult population have a bank account, one percent has access to a bank loan; and 46 percent of the population does not have access to financial services. The high concentration of assets does not allow for product innovation at major banks.

To provide greater access to financial services for individuals and prospective investors, the Haitian government’s banking laws recognize tangible movable property (such as portable machinery, furniture, and tangible personal property) as collateral for loans. These laws allow individuals to buy condominiums, and banks to accept personal property, such as cars, bank accounts, etc., as collateral for loans. USAID has a loan portfolio guarantee program with a diversified group of financial institutions that encourages expansion of credit to productive small and medium enterprises, and rural micro-enterprises. Haiti has a credit rating registry in effect for users of the banking sector but does not have the relevant legislation in place to establish a credit rating bureau.

Haiti’s Central Bank issued a series of monetary policy measures to alleviate the potential impact of COVID-19 on the financial system and the economy in March 2020. These measures included a reduction in the Central Bank’s policy rate to help lower interest rates on loans; the decrease of reserve requirement ratios to reduce the cost for banks to capture resources and grant loans; a reduction in the Central Bank’s refinancing rate to lower the cost of access to liquidity; the alleviation of loan repayment conditions for customers over a three-month period; the waiver of the Central Bank’s fees on interbank transfers to reduce transaction costs for customers; and the increase of limits on transactions through mobile payment services.

On July 2020, a decree was issued reorganizing the National Bank for Agricultural Development (BNDA). The bank is tasked with developing the agricultural sector through the financing of the entire value chain (production, breeding, processing, marketing, and equipment) through access to basic financial services for the greatest number of people, targeting those living in semi-urban and rural areas. The bank is installed in municipal agricultural offices, attached to the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR).

The Haitian government published a decree dated August 2020 regulating micro-finance, with institutions granting small loans to entrepreneurs or retailers who operate according to the regulations of the Central Bank of Haiti. This decision is part of the framework of financial inclusion. Micro-finance institutions have access to the Central Bank programs and microcredits are more accessible to entrepreneurs and small traders than large financial corporations.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

The Haitian gourde is convertible for commercial and capital transactions. The Central Bank publishes a daily reference rate, which is a weighted average of exchange rates offered in the formal and informal exchange markets the prior day. The difference between buying and selling rates is generally more than five percent. Funds can be freely converted into specific currencies including the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, the Euro, the Dominican Republic peso, and the Panamanian balboa. The U.S. dollar is usually the most widely available foreign currency and may be available at times when conversion into another currency is not an option. In Port-au-Prince as in provincial towns, foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial banks and currency exchange offices. Forex traders in streets corners are common, but they charge higher exchange rates and transactions are risky and jeopardize safety.

Since the fall of 2021 a shortage of U.S. dollars in the formal foreign exchange market in Haiti has been a persistent issue for businesses engaging in international trade. The main causes of the shortage include Haitians leaving the country in greater numbers who take only U.S. dollars with them, the downturn of foreign direct investment and tourism.  Haiti’s Central Bank continues to make periodic interventions in the foreign exchange market to support the dollar supply and contain further depreciation of the gourde. These interventions also facilitate trade for import transactions.

Remittance Policies

The Haitian government does not impose restrictions on the inflow or outflow of capital. The Law of 1989 governs international transfer operations and remittances. Remittances are Haiti’s primary source of foreign currency and are equivalent to approximately one-third of GDP. Remittances were about $6 billion in 2021, and about $5 billion in 2022. Haiti received $242.35 million in remittances in January 2023. There are no restrictions or controls on foreign payments or other fund transfer transactions. While restrictions apply on the amount of money that may be withdrawn per transaction, there is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that residents may hold in bank accounts, and there is no ceiling on the amount residents may transfer abroad.

The Haitian government has expressed an intention to put in place stricter measures to monitor money transfers in accordance with Haiti’s efforts to deter illicit cash flows, as mandated by the 2013 Anti-Money Laundering Act. The Central Bank issued a circular in June 2020 applicable to commercial banks and transfer houses.

International transfers must be paid in foreign currency if the beneficiary receives the funds in their U.S. dollar-denominated bank account, while transfers must be paid in gourdes if the beneficiary requests payment at any point of service (branch, agency, office, and kiosk) on Haitian national territory. The total amount of money the end user is allowed to receive is $1000 dollars deposited directly into a bank account and the remaining fund is released in gourdes. The central bank reserves the right to take up to 25 percent of dollar remittances from local money transfer houses or commercial banks when the bank deems it necessary. This gave some boost to the foreign currency reserve of the Central bank to conduct its mission. The bank attempted to stabilize the rate of exchange and injected additional money on the market. Those injections acted as a stop-gap measure to slow the rate of exchange rise.

Sovereign Wealth Funds:

To date Haiti does not have a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The Haitian government owns and operates, either wholly or in part, several State-Owned Enterprises (SOE), and the Haitian commercial code governs the operations of these SOEs. The sectors include food processing and packaging (a flourmill), construction and heavy equipment (a cement factory); information and communications (a telecommunications company); energy (the state electricity company, EDH); finance (two commercial banks, the Banque Nationale de Crédit and the Banque Populaire Haïtienne); and the National Port Authority and the Airport Authority. Current records indicate that no SOEs compete in the international market or invested in the United States.

The law defines SOEs as autonomous enterprises that are legally authorized to be involved in commercial, financial, and industrial activities. All SOEs operate under the supervision of their respective sectorial ministry and are expected to create economic and social return. The SOEs are also expected to provide non-discriminatory treatment in their purchase and sale of good and services. Today, some SOEs are fully owned by the state, while others are jointly owned commercial enterprises. The Haitian parliament, when in function, has full authority to liquidate state enterprises that are underperforming. The majority of SOEs are financially sound. However, EDH receives substantial annual subsidies from the government to stay in business.

Privatization Program

In response to the economic difficulties of the late 1990s and mismanagement of the SOEs, the government liberalized the market and allows foreign firms to invest in the management and/or ownership of some Haitian state-owned enterprises. To accompany the initiative, the government established the Commission for the Modernization of Public Enterprises in 1996 to facilitate the privatization process.

In 1998, two U.S. companies, Seaboard, and Continental Grain, purchased shares of the state-owned flourmill. Each partner currently owns a third of the company, known today as Les Moulins d’Haiti. In 1999, a consortium of Colombian, Swiss, and Haitian investors purchased a majority stake in the national cement factory. In 2010, a state-owned Vietnamese corporation, Viettel, officially acquired 60 percent of the state telecommunications company Teleco (now operating as Natcom), with the Haitian government retaining 40 percent ownership. The government has allowed limited private sector investment in selected seaports. Competition is generally not distorted in favor of state-owned enterprises to the detriment of private companies.

The Haitian government in March 2023, called for private sector investment in electricity generation to compensate for Electricité d’Haïti (EDH)’s inability to generate sufficient power, though it has had contractual disputes with multiple independent power producers. Only one independent power producer, partially U.S.-owned E-Power, currently generates electricity for EDH in Port-au-Prince since 2021.

In 2019, the Haitian energy sector regulatory authority, ANARSE, issued a series of prequalification rounds for concessionaires to take over and expand electricity production, transmission, and distribution for several of the country’s regional grids, including the grid serving the Caracol Industrial Park. ANARSE launched a call for proposals for its “Improvement of Access to Electricity in Haiti” program. It aims to strengthen the regulatory and planning capacities of the electricity sector. ANARSE plans to establish a shortlist of firms or groups of firms for the development of a national plan for the development of the electricity sector. The plan will:

  • Consult all stakeholders working in the energy sector to collect data
  • Collect and process the data collected and share the most relevant information with ANARSE and the Energy Cell of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC) in electronic format
  • Develop the national plan for the development of the electricity sector in Haiti over a period of 10 years
  • Organize public consultations; and
  • Revise the development plan to consider the comments made during the public consultations carried out to produce a complete and final version.

The Government of Haiti created the National Commission for Public Procurement (CNMP) to ensure that government contracts are awarded through competitive bidding and to establish effective procurement controls in public administration. The CNMP publishes lists of awarded government of Haiti contracts. The procurement law of 2009 requires contracts to be routed through CNMP. In 2012, however, a presidential decree substantially raised the threshold at which public procurements must be managed by the CNMP, resulting in what companies have identified as a decrease in transparency for many smaller government contracts. Moreover, the government frequently enters no-bid contracts, sometimes issued using “emergency” authority derived from natural disasters, even when there is no apparent connection between the alleged emergency and the government contract, according to foreign investors.

Due to widespread insecurity and a prolonged political impasse related to the extraconstitutional situation, little progress was made towards planning the overdue legislative or presidential elections and the business sector suffers.

No significant progress was made in investigating the July 2021 assassination of President Moïse. The first four investigative judges assigned to the case faced administrative and security challenges and were not able to make any meaningful progress before the end of their mandates. The current and fifth judge is nearing one year on the case, but the United States has charged more suspects in the case than Haiti. Many members of civil society organizations and the government continued to believe the judiciary did not have the capacity to handle such a complex, sensitive, and politicized crime. The government and judiciary made minimal progress on a growing list of emblematic killings. While authorities stated they continued to investigate large-scale attacks in the Port-au-Prince neighborhoods of Grand Ravine (2017), Bel Air (2018), La Saline (2019), and Cité Soleil (2020), each of which left dozens dead, the government had yet to bring any perpetrators to justice.

Significant media reports of human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings; torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by government agents; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; serious abuses in a conflict, including widespread civilian deaths or harm, enforced disappearances or abductions, torture, and physical abuse; inability of citizens to change their government peacefully through free and fair elections; serious government corruption; lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence; substantial barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services; trafficking in persons; crimes involving violence and threats of violence targeting handicap, woman, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex persons; and existence of some of the worst forms of child labor.

The government has taken minimal steps to identify, prosecute, and punish government and law enforcement officials who committed abuses or engaged in corruption, and civil society groups alleged widespread impunity regarding these acts. The IGPNH has taken some steps and opened investigations into various cases after the incidents and interview witnesses, but with no concrete end results. Gang violence continued at high rates in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Some gangs allegedly received support from political and economic elites. Kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs increased and affected all parts of society. Armed gangs were also responsible for armed conflicts resulting in killings, brutal attacks on citizens, targeted instances of sexual violence, mutilation of human remains, widespread displacement, and the destruction of homes and property.

The UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) reported that from July 8, 2022- December 31, 2022, gang violence resulted in 263 murders in Cite Soleil alone, 57 gang rapes of woman and girls were also documented. On July 8 alone, gang members murdered 95 people, including 6 children.

Awareness of responsible business conduct among producers and consumers is limited but growing, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Irish-owned telecommunications company Digicel, for example, sponsors an Entrepreneur of the Year program and has built 120 schools in Haiti. Natcom provides free internet service to several public schools throughout the country. Les Moulins d’Haiti, partially owned by U.S. firm Seaboard Marine, provides some services, including electrical power, to surrounding communities. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, many firms provided logistical or financial support to humanitarian initiatives, and many continue to contribute to support reconstruction efforts throughout the state. Haiti’s various chambers of commerce have also become more supportive of business ethics and social responsibility programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Haitian, U.S., and other foreign-owned firms donated to prevention and treatment measures.

Climate Issues

Haiti, located in the Caribbean basin, is exposed to many phenomena related to climate. Variations in rainfall regime, temperature, and frequency of tropical storms, and earthquakes are among many climate disruptions seen across the country. The climatic movement scenarios established for Haiti show an increase in temperature between now and 2030 (from 0.80C to 10C), a decrease in annual rainfall of 6-20 percent, a shift in the seasonality of rainfall, and an increase in mean sea level. In 2014, Haiti was ranked fourth in the world for vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Over the past ten years, the country has often been the victim of climate disturbances which are manifested above all by a change in the water regime of the watersheds, the increase in periods of drought, and loss of human life due to flooding caused by tropical storms. The cumulative costs of the impacts of climate change without taking preventive measures are estimated at $1.8 billion and $77 million by taking adaptation measures by 2025.

The country’s priorities in terms of adaptation to climate change are:

  • Integrated management of water resources and watersheds.
  • Integrated coastal zone management and infrastructure rehabilitation.
  • The preservation and strengthening of food security.
  • Information, education, and awareness.

Haiti’s undertaking and achievement efforts at 100% by 2030 to:

  • Integrate into sectoral development strategies the effects of climatic changes.
  • Develop the 15 strategic watersheds most vulnerable to events extreme climatic conditions according to the land use plan.
  • Protect coastal areas from the impacts of climate change.
  • Developing the bioeconomy, climate-smart, and organic agriculture.

An existing institutional framework for the implementation of actions in the field of climate change rests essentially on the Ministry of the Environment through its direction in the fight against climate change. For the implementation of the INDC, the head of the Haitian government will continue to assert leadership on the file and continuous coordination are being ensured by Ministry of the Environment in direct and collaboration with the National Committee on Climate Change (CNCC), a committee of representatives of sectoral ministries, local authorities, civil society, and the private sector responsible for steering, monitoring, and reporting Haiti engagement activities.

Corruption and bribery raise the costs and risks of doing business in Haiti. U.S. firms have complained that corruption is a major obstacle to effective business operation in Haiti. With a score of 17, Haiti ranked 171 according to the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International – the lowest in the Western Hemisphere after Venezuela. Although Haiti received a high score of 22 in 2002, it is consistently in the bottom 10 percent. According to a 2021 survey of Haitians by Ensemble Contre la Corruption or Together against Corruption (ECC), the most corrupt sectors, in order, are the legislature, the judiciary, political parties, the executive, the media, and the private sector.

According to Lucien Georges, a columnist for the Haitian daily, Le National, the squandering of public funds has not only deprived Haiti of the infrastructure necessary for its development but also destroyed the future for young people and state institutions in general. The appropriation of public resources includes but is not limited to bribery, embezzlement, illicit enrichment, illegal procurement, over-billing, insider trading, influence peddling, and nepotism. According to Haitian economist Don Waty Bathelmy, “if the correlations observed between the level of corruption and the level of development are often evoked to justify anti-corruption actions, this correlation also reveals an inverse causality: corruption is encouraged by the condition of underdevelopment.”

Haitian law, applicable to individuals and financial institutions, criminalizes corruption and money laundering. Bribes or attempted bribes toward a public official are a criminal act and 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. In practice, however, the law is unevenly and rarely applied.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2022 ranked Haiti in the second lowest spot in the Americas region and 171 out of 180 countries worldwide, with a score of 17 out of 100 in perceived levels of public corruption.

The Haitian government has made some progress in enforcing public accountability and transparency, but substantive institutional reforms are still needed. In 2004, the Government of Haiti established the Anti-Corruption Commission (ULCC), but the organization lacks the necessary resources and political independence to be effective. In 2008, parliament approved the law on disclosure of assets by civil servants and high public officials prepared by ULCC, but to date, compliance has been almost nonexistent.

In February 2022, the ULCC announced the launch of the anti-Corruption circuit at the Court of Cassation. Made up of magistrates from the Courts of First Instance and Courts of Appeal of Haiti, the anti-corruption circuit aims to strengthen judicial efficiency and put an end to impunity in relation to corruption cases.

Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes (CSCCA) is currently one of Haiti’s few independent government institutions, responsible for reviewing draft government contracts; conducting audits of government expenditures; and clearing all government officials, including those at the political level, to manage public funds. In November 2020, however, the Haitian government published a decree limiting the authority of the Audit Court. The CSCCA issued three reports in January 2019, May 2019, and August 2020 citing improper management practices by the Haitian government and the alleged wastage of nearly $2 billion of the Petrocaribe funds. Public anger over the Petrocaribe scandal has since burgeoned into a grassroots movement against widespread corruption in Haiti.

The CSCCA publicly calls on Haitian authorities to take measures to influence public expenditure by implementing monitoring and evaluation and consolidating investment expenditure to better assess the effectiveness of public spending. For nearly a decade, the Haitian state has faced a structural deficit in the management of its public resources. Despite many efforts undertaken to improve fiscal performance, the Haitian State is still in a situation of insufficient resources to respond to the pressures exerted on public spending.

Haiti is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.


Any corruption-related activity can be reported to the Haitian Anti-Corruption Unit, responsible for combatting corruption:

Hans Jacques Ludwig Joseph
General Director
Unité de Lutte Contre la Corruption
13, rue Capotille, Pacot, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone : (509) 2811-0661 / (509) 2816-7071
Email :

Marilyn B. Allien
Fondation Heritage pour Haiti
Petion-Ville, Haiti
Telephone : (509) 3452-1570
Email : / 

The U.S. government continues to partner with Haiti in its efforts to strengthen the rule of law and enhance public security. Haiti needs support in pursuing economic growth through increased domestic resource mobilization for private investment and police training; strengthening good governance, and anti-corruption. Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, 2022, elections have not been held, while allegations of widespread corruption, weak rule of law, and a deteriorating economy have hindered both reconstruction efforts and the passage of important legislation. The escalation of sporadic protests and gang violence in Port-au-Prince have stalled progress in the fight against corruption, resulting in a lack of viable economic options and a continued deterioration of Haiti’s political situation.

Political and civil disorder, such as periodic demonstrations triggered by fuel shortage, increases in fuel prices and worsening insecurity often interrupt normal business operations. Gang violence continues to plague urban centers. Kidnapping, murders, and sexual and gender-based violence by gangs in their struggle to expand their territorial control have a detrimental impact on the population. The Haitian National Police is seeking to improve the effectiveness of its anti-gang operations, take a more balanced approach between prevention and repression, and increase its presence in sensitive areas. At first, U.S. and Canadian sanctions had a big impact on the actors promoting gang violence, but because of the lengthy process and the lack of immediate serious consequences the government is seeing backsliding, and gangs continue to be active.

In February 2023, the Haitian government appointed eight new judges to the Supreme Court of the Republic by government decree, and they have been sworn into office. The Prime Minister announced that investiture will allow the highest judicial body in the country to resume its functions after more than a year of stoppage. Planning is underway to establish the Government Action Control Body and a Provisional Electoral Council to hold general elections across the country.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry continues to engage in dialogue with actors from all political backgrounds to broaden the consensus around a single, unified vision that would lead to the restoration of fully functional and democratically elected institutions. Although the government has not yet published a revised electoral calendar, momentum is building around the newly formed inclusive, credible, and effective interim electoral council that would inspire confidence among a critical mass of national stakeholders.

Damage to businesses and other installations frequently occurs because of political and civil disorder. Over the past 10 years, multiple incidents of property damage to offices, stores, hotels, hospitals, fuel stations, and car rental companies and dealerships have been reported in the media and to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. Property destruction and vandalism ranges from broken windows to arson and looting. Employees and tourists have also been victims of violence. Kidnapping for ransom is a frequent occurrence in Port-au-Prince. While improvements in the Haitian National Police’s technical and operational capabilities have maintained some semblance of order, violent crime, including looting of businesses, remains a serious problem, along with criminal gang control of several Port-au-Prince’s marginalized areas.

More information is available at:

The special legislation of the Labor Code of 1984, establishes and governs labor regulations. Under the Code, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor enforces the law and maintains good relationships with employers and workers. Normal working hours consist of 8-hour shifts totaling 40-hour workweeks. Under special circumstances, employees, such as police officers, may work an additional 8 hours per week if their contracts require additional hours to complete their work week.

In September 2017, the Haitian government passed a labor law to permit three eight-hour shifts in a working day with one hour for paid lunch, although this has not been fully implemented for all sectors in Haiti. Due to security risks, employers do not ask workers to arrive or leave factories in the dark. As a result, manufacturers schedule employees for eight-hour day shifts and regularly require overtime to meet customer deadlines. According to Better Work Haiti and labor union representatives, companies circumvent the paid lunch requirement by extending work to nine-hour days but only paying for eight hours, meaning employees are either not being paid for an hour of work or for their lunch hour.

Companies have complained the 3×8 law is “outdated and confusing” and MAST representatives at the labor mission said they were working with the Prime Minister and Haiti’s Manufacturing Association (ADIH) to update the text of the law. On March 7, 2023, the President of CODEVI Fernando Capellan sent a letter to Prime Minister Henry requesting that he ask MAST to respond to Better Work Haiti with clarification regarding the 3×8 law, or request that Better Work Haiti not issue noncompliance ratings for violation under the 3×8 law until it can be clarified.

Prior to 2017, the Haitian Labor Code required that aspects of working hours be negotiated between employers and labor unions. As a result, employers and unions had agreed to one eight-hour shift daily, which included the provision of transportation and food, and in the case of the northern factory CODEVI, training for employees and daycare for their children. After 2017, these labor union agreements remained in place alongside the entry into force of the new 3×8 law. Companies found the two to be in conflict. Between 2018 and 2021 Better Work Haiti noted in its quarterly compliance reports that the 3×8 law was “nonapplicable,” as manufacturers and the Government of Haiti negotiated the law’s implementation.

Despite positive reports on labor relations in Haiti’s textile sector recently released by the United Nations International Labor Organization’s (ILO) implementing partner Better Work Haiti, and the office of the U.S. International Trade Commission, companies remain noncompliant to Haiti’s 2017 3×8 law requiring employers to schedule work around three eight-hour shifts with one hour for paid lunch in each shift. Unless resolved, noncompliance could potentially crush the textile sector, and by extension much of the domestic economy, as well as exports to the United States. The textile manufacturing companies continue to oppose the 3×8 law even after being found noncompliant in the previous two Better Work Haiti reports. These noncompliance ratings started a two-year clock for potential remediation until June 2024, after which companies not complying with the 3×8 law will be stripped of trade preferences under the U.S. Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act II (HOPE II) and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act programs. However, the garment companies, labor unions, and the government of Haiti may be able to work out a compromise solution before June 2024, this would be in their common interest. HOPE and HELP act trade preferences are the cornerstone of Haiti’s textile sector and are also due to expire in 2025. If these benefits end due to non-compliance or if the legislation isn’t renewed before 2025, textile companies have made clear they will close their factories in Haiti.

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. In February 2023, Better Work, a program of the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which brings together all levels of the garment industry to improve working conditions, the respect for workers’ labor rights, and the competitiveness of apparel businesses. They carried out a labor mission in Dajabon, Dominican Republic at the Company of Industrial Development (CODEVI) Industrial Park and met with Econ Officer, eight Haitian labor unions, textile manufacturing leaders, and representatives from ILO, the U.S. Department of Labor, Haiti’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MAST), and health insurance and social security offices (OFATMA and ONA). Better Work Haiti highlighted its partnership with the 57,500 textile employees in Haiti as well as the 300 training sessions held with employees, unions, and ministries over the past year. Better Work Haiti program manager Claudine François lauded Haiti’s textile sector for having no reports of forced or child labor, with more than 90% of all factories implementing the national union collective bargaining agreement. François told unions, companies, and government officials the areas in which the textile sector requires improvement include implementation of Haiti’s shift work or “3×8” law, the payment and accounting of health and social security benefits to ONA and OFATMA, and better support from MAST. Wages vary depending on the economic sector. As of February 2022, the minimum wage for the garment sector was 685 gourdes for eight hours of work or (approximately $6.27) in the export-oriented apparel industry. With an inflation rate that is nearing 50 percent in 2023, textile companies insist the paid lunch requirement must be included in minimum wage discussions because of reduced international orders and additional expenses due to the deterioration of Haiti’s security environment.

The path forward according to Mission Officers requires balancing the need for a fair wage rate with the rising cost of doing business in Haiti given continued insecurity and reduced orders. Currently, the textile sector constitutes most of the employment and exports, it is likely this posturing will result in the government and labor unions agreeing to reduce the benefits companies must provide to workers. Without a sitting parliament, companies hope the law could be changed by decree.

The most recent report is available at: ort/  .

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) offers innovative financial solutions to support private investors through debt financing, political risk insurance, equity investment, and supporting private equity investment funds. The DFC prioritizes low-income and lower middle-income countries, where its services will have the greatest impact. By mobilizing private capital to help solve critical development challenges, the DFC advances U.S. foreign policy, and catalyzes revenues, jobs, and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. The DFC offers several products including debt financing, political risk insurance, and support for investment funds.

The Country Representatives in Haiti for both the World Bank (WB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said in late March 2023 that deteriorating security in Port-au-Prince is increasingly restricting their operations, although they continue to operate as normal in the north. Their local staff continue to leave the country or are living in hotels because they view their homes as unsafe. Staff in government ministries are leaving, reducing their capacity to act as counterparts and implement projects, leading the IDB to increasingly work thorough NGOs instead. World Bank Country Representative for Haiti Laurent Meslatti said the WB will not provide direct budgetary support to Haiti in the near-term, due to the lack of an adequate macroeconomic framework. The WB will reassess the situation after the IMF’s review of the Staff Monitored Program, scheduled for late April – early May 2023. While WB operations in the North continue, Meslatti is concerned about the worsening security situation in Port-au-Prince, noted the WB’s security office in Washington is paying close attention to the situation, and may downgrade Haiti to their lowest security category, which will likely mean changes in their staffing. He noted that they are increasingly housing their local staff in hotels, since they are not safe in their houses.

The IDB will support an ongoing project to purchase security equipment for the Port-au-Prince airport, to include baggage scanners and magnetometers. The IDB has obligated the funds, and the next step is to open the tender for bidders or possibly doing a contract modification allowing their existing contractor (French company Vinci) to fulfill the contract. Vinci is contracted to improve the airport’s security perimeter. The IDB has also looked for bidders for their solar project at the Caracol Industrial Park. The IDB will continue working on its solid waste and water projects in the north of Haiti. The organization is also considering increased support for Customs and expanding support to education and social safety nets.

Active DFC projects in Haiti include activities in the finance and insurance, construction, and tourism sectors. An investment incentive agreement exists between the Governments of Haiti and the United States:  .

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Central Bank of Haiti USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Haiti Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2020 $6,255 2021 $5,741 
Foreign Direct Investment Central Bank of Haiti USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Total FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) FY2020


N/A 2021 $51M Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) – Haiti | Data (
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2022 1.8% UNCTAD data available at

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available. 

Economic Assistants:
Boris Gilles
Nadege Figaro-Mathieu
Embassy of the United States of America
Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Please address email correspondence to: .

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    4. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    5. Expropriation and Compensation
    6. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    7. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Eligibility Conditions
    3. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    4. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 7. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds:
  8. 8. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 9. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Climate Issues
  11. 10. Corruption
  12. 10. Political and Security Environment
  13. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  14. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  15. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  16. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Haiti
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