The Caribbean Basin Initiative is a preferential trade agreement that allows most Caribbean countries to send products duty-free to the US. This allows many products made in the Caribbean including clothing, to potentially enter the US market at a more affordable rate. A country such as Haiti has to opportunity expand its current clothing making industry using this international trade law.
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The Future of Fashion will not Stay in Asia because of International Trade Laws
The Fashion and apparel sector is expected to increase from $1.9 Trillion in 2019 to $3 Trillion by 2030, according to Statista. This is good news for developing nations because here’s the thing, corporations are always trying to minimize their costs and create the same product for less.
You might be thinking that Asian countries such as China and Vietnam are the preferred countries for apparel, given their low labor costs. But, the demographics are changing in Asia. In addition, China has a rapidly growing middle class and beginning to pricing itself out of the market. This is where countries such as Haiti will rise because Haiti has many strategic benefits including U.S. regulatory clarity that makes it an attractive destination for clothing-making.
What makes Haiti the Future of Apparel with the Caribbean Basin Initiative?
Hear me out, despite Asia dominating the apparel industry for the past few decades, Haiti is the future. A few reasons include:
- Haiti’s proximity to the U.S., the world’s largest economy,
- Relatively low minimum wage, and
- Regulatory clarity through the Caribbean Basin Initiative making it more affordable to send clothing from Haiti to the U.S.
“The U.S. apparel market generates over $300 Billion USD and is expected to grow about 7% per year through 2025, according to Statista.”
With Haiti being so close to the U.S., items will take less time to reach U.S. borders, and transportation costs will be cheaper. Combine the transportation cost savings with a low minimum wage, clothing from Haitian factories can enter the U.S. market and be extremely price competitive.
But that is not all because the Caribbean Basin Initiative allows clothing made in Haiti to enter the U.S. market duty-free and without a quota. Not having to pay an import duty to the U.S. further makes products cheaper coming from Haiti.
Hanesbrands Inc., the owner of Hanes and the Champion brands, currently uses Haitian factories to produce clothing. In addition, Kanye West, owner of Yeezy Brand, a footwear and apparel company, recently traveled to Haiti. He met with the Haitian President and aims to build a “City of the Future”, and apparel will likely be one of his methods for job creation.
The groundwork has been laid for Haiti to be the clothing manufacturing capital of the world. Once the Haitian factories become the preferred choice for the U.S. market, other markets such as Europe are certainly next. With job creation, standards of living have historically risen. In addition, the more demand there is for a country’s products, infrastructure will typically improve. With employment and quality infrastructure, rule-of-law can prevail and bring peace to the country of Haiti.
While Haiti may be the poorest country in the Americas, a legal framework based on international trade exists for the country.