The Republic of Haiti shipped an estimated US$1.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an 855.9% increase since 2014 and up by -605% from 2017 to 2018.
Haiti occupies the western three-eighths of Hispaniola located on the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, sharing the remaining area of the island with the Dominican Republic.
The latest available country-specific data for 2017 shows that 89.9% of products exported from Haiti were bought by importers in: United States (56.5% of the global total), France (12.4%), Canada (4.5%), Thailand (4.2%), Spain (2.8%), Taiwan (2.3%), United Kingdom (2.2%), Dominican Republic (2%), Vietnam (1.6%) and China (1.4%).
From a continental perspective, 61.1% of Haiti exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 19.8% were sold to European importers. Haiti shipped another 12.6% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to Latin America (4.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (1.4%) then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia.
Given Haiti’s population of 10.8 million people, its total $1.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $120 for every resident in the West Indian country.
In macroeconomic terms, Haiti’s total exported goods represent 5.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($20.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 6.6% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Haiti’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Haiti also provided $541.2 million worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 2.6% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Haiti’s unemployment rate was forecasted to be 14.5% for 2018 up from 14% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics
Haiti’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Haitian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Haiti.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$853.7 million (69.8% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $168.5 million (13.8%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $69.4 million (5.7%)
- Fish: $25 million (2%)
- Iron, steel: $17.6 million (1.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $11.6 million (0.9%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $10.8 million (0.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.9 million (0.7%)
- Copper: $8.4 million (0.7%)
- Cocoa: $6.1 million (0.5%)
Haiti’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 76,400% year over year since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was knit or crochet clothing and accessories thanks to a 5,166% increase.
Haiti’s shipments of miscellaneous textiles and worn clothing posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 1,858% year over year.
The sole decliner among the top 10 Haitian export categories was electrical machinery and equipment which fell -11.2%
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests represent Haiti’s most valuable exported product at 36.4% of the country’s total. In second place was knitted or crocheted jerseys and pullovers (22%) trailed by knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (7.1%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (6.8%), essential oils (5.4%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s shirts (3.4%), knitted or crocheted men’s suits and trousers (1.7%), live fish (1.6%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (1.5%) then unknitted and non-crocheted tracksuits and swimwear (1.4%).
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 represent 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.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$764.8 million (Up by 7242.8% since 2017)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $149.5 million (Up by 2701.6%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $38.2 million (Up by 545.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $10.3 million (Up by 52.7%)
- Copper: $7.7 million (Reversing a -$2.5 million deficit)
- Cocoa: $4.6 million (Up by 29.1%)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $1.7 million (Reversing a -$214,000 deficit)
- Lead: $1.6 million (Reversing an -$8,000 deficit)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1.5 million (Down by -33.8%)
- Headgear: $1.1 million (Reversing a -$283,000 deficit)
Haiti has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing and related accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Haiti’s strong competitive advantages under the clothing and accessories product categories.
Overall Haiti incurred an estimated -$2 billion trade deficit for 2018 up by 1.5% from -$1.97 billion in red ink one year earlier.
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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$302.4 million (Up by 34.2% since 2017)
- Cereals: -$277.9 million (Up by 52%)
- Vehicles: -$198.5 million (Up by 78.1%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$192.6 million (Up by 183,347%)
- Machinery including computers: -$170.6 million (Up by 84.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$143.3 million (Up by 40%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$107.7 million (Up by 12.2%)
- Meat: -$95.9 million (Up by 94.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$80.9 million (Up by 8.7%)
- Iron, steel: -$76 million (Down by -7.5%)
Haiti has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related product category. These product-specific negative balances mainly encompass red ink largely for refined petroleum oils.
Haitian Export Companies
Not one Haitian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
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.
See also Aruba’s Top 10 Exports, Mexico’s Top Trading Partners and Top Central American Export Countries
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Haiti. Accessed on April 22, 2018
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 22, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 12, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 12, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 22, 2018
The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Haiti. Accessed on July 12, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 12, 2019
Wikipedia, Jordan. Accessed on April 22, 2018
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Haiti. Accessed on April 22, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 12, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Accessed on April 22, 2018