Following up to my previous article, Haiti has completed its second WTO Trade Policy Review which took place this week December 2nd-4th. The report of Haiti’s second review is now online.
Haiti’s Economic and Trade Performance
- Haiti’s economy has been recovering slowly since the devastating earthquake in January 2010.
- The fiscal deficit is largely financed by external grants and poses a considerable problem for medium-term expenditure sustainability.
- The Haitian Government has implemented a set of measures to increase revenues and reduce the level of expenditure.
- Haiti has maintained a large trade deficit for many years.
- Remittances sent by Haitian workers living abroad are the main source of foreign exchange in the domestic economy.
- Haiti’s main exports are textiles and clothing.
- Services contribute around 56% of GDP.
- Financial services still make only a modest contribution to GDP, although banking institutions have rapidly increased their holdings in recent years.
Haiti’s Trade Policy Framework
Some of the summary points in regards to its trade policy framework are as follows:
- Generally speaking, Haiti’s trade and investment laws are relatively old.
- Haiti has not signed any of the WTO plurilateral agreements.
- Haiti receives non-reciprocal preferential treatment from a number of developed countries under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
- Tariffs are still among Haiti’s principal trade policy tools, as well as being an important source of income, since customs revenue accounts for around one third of fiscal revenue each year.
- There have been no major changes to the export regime since the previous Trade Policy Review.
- Haiti has no legislation on competition, standardization or contingency trade measures.
- Although a major step forward was made with the adoption of the legislation on copyright and related rights, the system of intellectual property protection remains weak, however, and trademarks are frequently infringed.
- The agricultural sector continues to play a key role in food security and employment.The mining sector makes only a marginal contribution to GDP, despite its considerable potential.
- Contributing to the majority of Haiti’s exports, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP has remained relatively stable over recent years, at around 8%.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. Please note that the views expressed in this article are solely hers. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.