Haiti’s Top 10 Exports

Haitian flag courtesy of FlagPictures.org

Haiti flag (FlagPictures.org)

The Republic of Haiti occupies the western three-eighths of Hispaniola, an island located on the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti shipped US$1.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 10.3% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but down by -8.2% from 2015 to 2016.

Haiti’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Haiti’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $19.34 billion in 2016 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent an estimated 5.5% of total Haitian economic output.

From a continental perspective, $975.9 million or 91.2% of Haitian exports by value were delivered to North America. Smaller percentages were sold to importers in Europe (4.8%), Asia (2.6%), Africa (0.8%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.4%).

Given Haiti’s population of 10.5 million people, its total $1.1 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $100 for every resident in that country.

Trading Economics estimates Haiti’s unemployment rate to be 6.8% as of June 2017.

Haiti’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Haitian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Haiti.

  1. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$759.4 million (71% of total exports)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $183.4 million (17.1%)
  3. Perfumes, cosmetics: $32.1 million (3%)
  4. Cocoa: $14.2 million (1.3%)
  5. Fish: $12.2 million (1.1%)
  6. Fruits, nuts: $11.5 million (1.1%)
  7. Iron, steel: $5.3 million (0.5%)
  8. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $5.2 million (0.5%)
  9. Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $4.4 million (0.4%)
  10. Copper: $4.4 million (0.4%)

Feathers, artificial flowers and hair was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 4,899% for the 5-year period starting in 2012. This leading growth category was propelled by international sales of Haitian wigs made from human hair, artificial eyelashes and the like.

In second place for improving export sales were perfumes and cosmetics which appreciated by 94% led by essential oils.

Haitian cocoa posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 57.2%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Haitian export categories was iron and steel which was down by -87.5%.


The following types of Haitian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$742.1 million (Up by 63.1% since 2012)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $174.6 million (Up by 63.6%)
  3. Cocoa: $13.1 million (Up by 73.9%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $9.9 million (Up by 1,094%)
  5. Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $3.5 million (Reversing a -$901,000 deficit)
  6. Copper: $3 million (Down by -73.6%)
  7. Perfumes, cosmetics: $2.6 million (Reversing a -$13.4 million deficit)
  8. Coffee, tea, spices: $265,000 (Down by -88.9%)
  9. Collector items, art, antiques: $251,000 (Down by -9.1%)
  10. Plaiting products, basketware.wickerwork: $70,000 (Reversing a -$18,000 deficit)

Haiti has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing and accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Haiti’s strong competitive advantages under the clothing and accessories product categories.


Overall, Haiti incurred a -$1.4 billion trade deficit for 2016.

Below are exports from Haiti that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Haiti’s goods trail Haitian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Cereals: -US$248.2 million (Up by 7.2% since 2012)
  2. Knit or crochet fabric: -$127.1 million (Up by 468.8%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$116.4 million (Down by -28.9%)
  4. Vehicles : -$116.3 million (Down by -11.3%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: -$115 million (Up by 88.2%)
  6. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$109.1 million (Down by -11.6%)
  7. Machinery including computers: -$106.6 million (Down by -1.2%)
  8. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$94.3 million (Up by 1.4%)
  9. Meat: -$79.6 million (Down by -10%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: -$63.9 million (Down by -50.7%)

Haiti has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the cereals category. These product-specific negative balances are principally for rice and wheat but also extend to a lesser degree to corn, oats and buckwheat.


Haitian Export Companies

Not one Haitian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.

Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Haiti. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Brasserie de la Couronne (soft drinks)
  • Brasserie Nationale d’Haïti (brewery)
  • Comme Il Faut (tobacco)
  • Handxom (electronics)
  • Rhum Barbancourt (alcoholic beverages)
  • Sûrtab (computer hardware including tablets)
  • Unibank (commercial bank)

Haiti’s capital city is Port-au-Prince.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Aruba’s Top 10 Exports, Mexico’s Top Trading Partners and Top Central American Export Countries

Research Sources:
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Haiti. Accessed on August 23, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 23, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 23, 2017

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 23, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 23, 2017

The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Haiti. Accessed on August 23, 2017

Wikipedia, Jordan. Accessed on August 23, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Haiti. Accessed on August 23, 2017

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Accessed on August 23, 2017