Haitian Economy and the HOPE Act

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DIANE Publishing, 2010 - 24 pages
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Haiti's economic, political, and social development have been on a slow track since the transition from dictatorship to democracy began in the mid-1980s. The devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, was a major setback to the tentative progress already made. Haiti struggled with providing basic needs even prior to the catastrophe, but currently is without the physical, political, and economic infrastructure to provide adequately for its citizens. As the massive humanitarian relief effort continues, planning for Haiti's economic reconstruction and development has also begun. The transition from disaster relief to a national redevelopment strategy is essential, and by all accounts, must be comprehensive, directed at all sectors of the economy, and guided by the Haitian government in cooperation with the United Nations and other international assistance organizations. The U.S. Congress has long taken a comprehensive view of aid to Haiti, annually appropriating funds in support of security, humanitarian relief, and development assistance. Yet, the Haitian economy even before the earthquake had experienced extremely slow growth in output, employment, and productivity. One important step that reflects the nexus of congressional interest and Haitian need is the Haiti HOPE Act. In December 2006, the 109th Congress passed the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006 (HOPE I) to assist Haiti with expanding its apparel trade as a way to help stimulate economic growth and employment. The Act included special rules for the duty-free treatment of select apparel imports from Haiti, particularly those made from less expensive third-country inputs, provided Haiti met rules of origin and eligibility criteria that require making progress on worker rights, poverty reduction, and anti-corruption measures.

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