KEYNOTE 'S SPEECH BY MARIE-CLAUDE BAYARD IN MIAMI, JULY
26, 2003. MRS. BAYARD IS PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INDUSTRIES
IN HAITI .
Haiti's Challenges and Opportunities
in the context of Regional Integration and Globalization".
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Haitian Manufacturers Association (ADIH), I wish to express
my sincere appreciation to the Haitian-American Center for Economic and Public
Affairs (HACEPA), the United Haitians American of Florida (UNHAF), and the Consulate
general of Haiti in Miami for inviting me to share some remarks with such a
distinguished audience. I also congratulate them for choosing to place their
second Annual Conference in the framework of the commemoration of the Bicentennial
of Haiti's independence.
While we gather here to discuss issues related to trade, commerce and tourism,
our country is at a crossroad that brings both serious concerns and great hopes.
As business men and women, we are realistic enough to carefully measure the
risks inherent in the environment where we operate. Yet, as entrepreneurs, we
have learned to design proper strategies to mitigate those risks. Also, in today's
world, it pays to "think globally and act locally". It is in this spirit that
I entitled my remarks: "Haiti's challenges and opportunities in the context
of regional integration and globalization".
My topic will be developed under the following headings:
· Haiti in the world today;
· The challenges of globalization;
· Regional Integration as a response;
· A three-track strategy;
· Toward sustainable tourism;
· HERO as a pillar in the construction of Haiti 2004;
Haiti in the World Today
While we are pondering today on how to pay respect to the memory of our ancestors
who achieved a remarkable and successful revolution against slavery, Haiti's
ranking position in two important classifications is at its lowest levels:
· In the Global Competitiveness Report 2002-2003 she scored 80th among
80 participating countries;
· In the Human Development Index she now ranks 145th compared to the
134th position of 2001.
It is critical to take a minute to fully grasp the true meaning of those results.
Global competitiveness is measured by two indices:
1. The Growth Competitiveness Index (GCI) is based on three (3) broad categories
of variables that are found to drive economic growth in the medium and long
term: technology, public institutions and the macroeconomic environment;
2. The Microeconomic Competitiveness Index (MICI) examines the underlying conditions
defining the sustainable level of productivity in each of the 80 countries in
Taken together, these classifications based on Growth Competitiveness and Microeconomic
Competitiveness tell a worrisome story: the income per capita in the Republic
of Haiti is low and will remain low unless the course is radically altered.
In a country where 2% demographic growth combines with low or no production
growth, poverty will amplify and building democratic institutions is extremely
problematic under such conditions. As Michael Porter taught us, wealth
is governed by productivity or the value created per day of work, dollar of
capital inverted and unit of the nation's physical resources employed. It is
also imperative that we understand the important distinction between comparative
advantages and competitive advantages as sources of wealth in order to avoid
the world's problem of economic development.
For Haiti to make it in the modern era several questions must be genuinely answered:
· Can we ride the waves?"
· "Can we implement strategies that will ensure our survival and also
allow us to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the global new economy
· "Are we equipped to take advantage of the new markets and technologies
· "Can we embrace new business models that allow us to meet our strategic
goals, within the context of the evolving GNE"?
· "Our organizations, are they equipped to transform our internal processes
and our business-to-business processes?"
I do not pretend nor will I attempt to answer these questions, but during my
remarks I would like to share some observations in order to shed some lights
on the new challenges carried by the globalization of economic activity. I will
also comment on regional integration as a response to those challenges. And
finally, I will advocate a 2 or 3 track strategy where industrial exports and
sustainable tourism can play a significant role.
Globalization and its Challenges
What is globalization?
Fundamentally, this phenomenon is the closer integration of the countries and
peoples of the world which has been brought about by technology, by the huge
reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down
of artificial barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital, knowledge and
(to a much lesser extent) people across borders. We are the witnesses of great
changes, most for the better, but some of them creating new problems. It is
above all the economic dimension of globalization which is the subject of controversy.
At issue is the setting up of a new world system. We are indeed in the midst
of an evolving multilateral order. Changes are everywhere: in the political,
financial, legal, commercial etc. But today, we limit our focus on trade and
The globalization process and the new rules and norms arising out of it are
becoming the determining factors of the conditions of production, of consumer
habits, of income distribution and of economic investment. The decade of the
90s has witnessed major changes in the multilateral trading system. Following
the long negotiations of the Uruguay Round, the World Trade Organization (WTO)
has been created with a mandate to oversee almost the whole world trade. The
fact that new topics like labor and the environment are today part of the global
trade and commerce agenda should serve as a warning to small economies like
ours: the rules of the game have changed. What we have to do now is to look
for new opportunities and new ways to enhance our competitive position. We cannot
resist the inevitable changes. It is a prerequisite to ride the new waves.
Economic barriers between countries are gradually coming down and, by the same
token, this brings about new phenomena: first, the effectiveness of national
economic policies is being reduced and the interdependence of countries is growing.
Second, the impact that economic changes in large countries have upon smaller
countries is increasing.
In Haiti, the private sector is becoming increasingly conscious that the new
rules and norms require a complete new approach to the business of growth as
the excellent 2001 IDB report on Latin-American competitiveness was named.
1) The productive system has to be designed on the basis of the requirements
of free trade, which precludes the use of protectionist policies of any flavor.
2) We ought to promote competitiveness and diversification of production while
considering local and external markets as one.
3) As a consequence of the above, we ought to create the most favorable investment
climate by promoting the proper public policy framework. The recently published
"Haiti 2020: Toward a Competitive Nation" is a valuable contribution of the
Haitian private sector to the much needed policy dialogue. The Center for Free
Enterprise and Democracy (CLED) is to be commended for this worthwhile endeavor.
Is Regional Integration the Proper Response?
Is there a future for a small economy in the world shaped by Globalization?
Some people consider that we are facing a purely negative phenomenon that threatens
the economies of smaller countries and brings the risk of loss of national sovereignty
On the other hand, however, there are those of us who believe that we can find
ways to deal with globalization and that, provided we agree on common positions,
this is a process that has the potential to be of great benefit to our countries.
We, at ADIH, are convinced that there is no way a small country like Haiti can
prevail by itself. We realize that in the world of the Internet, a world where
goods and services move across most national borders with fascinating ease,
where trillions of dollars move daily at the speed of light, effectively creating
open economic spaces with an increasingly competitive environment, our whole
Caribbean Region is particularly vulnerable. Integration, if conducted properly,
represents the appropriate method by which we can benefit to the maximum from
the winds of globalization and set sail towards the future model of competitive
development that we should readily embrace.
Integration in the case of Haiti has certainly not been, so far, conducted properly.
We are deeply concerned by the lack of consultation which preceded our adhesion
to CARICOM. Whereas Business will be very much impacted by the decisions taken
by governments, there has been almost no dialogue on the important topics, like
tourism, trade, investment etc.
If things proceed the way the United States wishes, the Free Trade Agreement
of the Americas will be a reality within 18 months. The destiny of the small
economies of the Region is not clear yet. Let us recall that the working group
on smaller economies has been eliminated since 1997 when the Ministerial Meeting
confirmed the US position of no separate negotiation group on smaller economies,
though recognizing that this group has special needs which should be taken account
of in facilitating their full integration in the FTAA. A Consultative Group
on Smaller Economies is charged with the responsibility to monitor the negotiations
and to bring the needs of this group of countries to the attention of the Trade
negotiation Committee. The great challenge facing smaller economies is to bring
their inputs and monitor negotiations in all nine negotiating groups.
The Caribbean Region has created a unified negotiating mechanism called the
Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM). The Haitian private sector has yet to
meet any of its members and it is less than certain that the Government of Haiti
has any meaningful communication with the entity.
I would like to seize this opportunity to state strongly that participation
of small economies is imperative for the success of the FTAA. A hemispheric
economic space cannot exist without participation from small economies.
On the other hand, despite the complex mosaic of interests and the packed negotiation
agendas of the countries within the Region, there is no doubt that the two most
important items on that agenda are the process for the creation of the FTAA
and the potential launch of a new round of negotiations within the framework
of the WTO. In particular this relates to the treatment of differences in the
size and development of countries taking part in these two initiatives.
We are aware of problems relating to implementations of agreements that are
considered critical for developing countries, such as the agreement on textiles
and clothing and the agreement on agriculture, for example and we should do
our utmost to make our voices heard before it is too late. One voice alone will
be inaudible for the powerful actors.
The Haitian policymakers ought to raise to the consciousness that, in the context
of globalization, the priorities of development oriented economic policies are
shifting: they are centered around how efficiently to achieve insertion into
the global economy and how to handle the effects that new international rules
on trade and investment have upon the economy. This depends to a large extent
upon how foreign policy and trade negotiations are handled. In fact, international
relations, foreign policy and trade negotiations fall within the scope of economic
policy and constitute one unit.
In that perspective, skills and knowledge relating to areas such as economics,
new aspects of commerce and schemes for integration are becoming the most highly
valued assets or talents when it comes to carrying out the new functions of
Needless to say that, because of the scarcity of those skills, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs should wisely count on the support of business leaders and
the civil society in general. As it takes two to tango, a new framework for
public-private partnership is certainly a pre-requisite. Right there is one
of the greatest challenges facing public and private leaders in our country.
A Three-Track Strategy
In regard of all the above considerations, I submit that we need multiple approaches.
At least three tracks should be followed:
· One is to find ways to participate in the negotiation process, first
at the CARICOM level and, jointly, at the hemispheric level;
· The other one is to establish at the Business level strategic alliances
with partners of the Region. This may require new approaches: sustainable tourism
is a good example;
· The third one is to enhance Haiti's attractiveness. Our lobbying effort
to obtain passage of the Haitian Economic Opportunity Act goes in that direction.
Why Sustainable Tourism?
The simple answer is: because that's where the Caribbean Region is heading.
Let us briefly review the basics.
The Association of Caribbean States created, in December 2001, the STZC. The
objective is to establish the Zone as a geographically determined, cultural,
socio-economic and biologically rich and diverse unit, in which the development
of tourism will depend on sustainability and on the principles of integration,
cooperation and consensus, geared to facilitating the integrated development
of the Greater Caribbean.
The STZC is based on four essential pillars:
· Respect for natural and cultural patrimony;
· Community participation in the benefits generated by the sector;
· Growth in the domestic product as well as employment;
· Profitability of investments.
The strategy to implement sustainable tourism involves two main actors in our
societies: these are the states as agents of management and change, and civil
society as a new emerging actor in the era of globalization. It will require
a whole new set of public policy measures combined with new private strategies,
appropriate to the new regional focus.
As a medium term goal, sustainable tourism can help the Haitian tourism sector
to elaborate the proper strategy in an increasingly competitive industry.
In this spirit, it seems to me that the effort to create multi-destination products
will contribute greatly to establish a framework for sustainable tourism.
On HERO (Haiti Economic Recovery Act)
As President of ADIH I am very pleased to confirm the progress being made in
obtaining from the US Congress passage of the HERO bill. It is important for
this distinguished audience to clearly assess what this HERO Act can and will
do to greatly improve the investment climate in our country.
The purpose of HERO is to help improve the economic and political situation
in Haiti through trade and thereby allow Haiti to better be able to confront
its serious economic and social problems.
· The bill would correct a glitch or oversight in US trade legislation
that recognized the special economic needs of least developed countries in Africa
but did not contain special provisions for the only LDC country (UN definition)
in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is in an unique position in our hemisphere
as being very poor with few natural resources. The bill is designed to
promote employment in Haitian industry by allowing the country to become a garment
· The bill would amend the "Trade and Development Act of 2000" by granting
duty-free status to Haitian apparel articles assembled or knit-to-shape from
fabrics/yarns from countries in which the U.S. has a free trade or regional
agreement eg. Canada, Mexico, Israel. Jordan, beneficiaries of CBI, Andean
Trade and AGOA Trade Preferences and soon Chile and Singapore. Currently,
the only Haitian apparel articles that can enter the U.S. duty-free are ones
that are made of U.S fabrics/yarns and a limited amount made of CBI knit fabrics.
It would also grant such status on articles, regardless of the origin of the
fabrics/yarns, if the fabrics/yarns were not commercially available in the U.S.
· The type of assembly carried out in Haiti would have minimal impact
on employment in the United States. In fact, it would encourage the emigration
of jobs away from the Far East and back to our hemisphere. In fact, it
would create jobs in the United States since unlike in the Far East, most of
Haitian foreign exchange earnings are utilized to purchase American products.
· Haitian apparel accounts for less than one percent of all apparel imports,
and the bill would cap duty-free imports made of fabrics/yarns from the designated
countries at 1.5 percent growing modestly over time to 3.5 percent. And,
the Trade and Development Act of 2000 already include strong safeguards against
· In order for Haiti to be eligible for the benefits, the President must
certify to Congress that Haiti has established, or is making continual progress
toward establishing, a number of important reforms on matters like democracy,
rule of law, free and fair elections, and freedom of the press. This will
not be an easy task for the Haitian government but because of the bill's incentives,
it will be more apparent to Haitian government that it is in their interest
· The preferential treatment under the bill would apply in each 12-month
period beginning retroactively beginning October 1, 2002 (The current bill would
probably begin October 1, 2003.)
Ladies and Gentlemen
Haiti needs HERO. As Business people, we need HERO to enhance our contribution
to the welfare of the Haitian society, by creating much needed stable jobs.
Let us seize the Opportunities!
From all these considerations I conclude that the opportunities for Haiti and
for Business peoples willing to seize them are enormous. For once our LDC status
can be considered a strategic advantage in certain key sectors such as tourism,
textiles and clothing. In order to profit from it let us keep in mind that,
in the global economy, trade increasingly follows investment. Indeed trade is
becoming a function of investment.
Business leaders of the Americas, please take note! : Haiti is open for serious
business. The new Investment Code and the new Law on Free Zone offer great advantages
to investors willing to export from the Haitian platform. New industrial parks
are being built under specs that are fully congruent with the most stringent
international environmental norms. My association has, for sometime now, endorsed
the World responsible Apparel Production or WRAP standard which is a prerequisite
for anyone willing to sell to the best names of the industry. We think that
joint venture and strategic alliances should help mitigate the residual risks
for the foreign investor who has been reluctant to even visit our country. I
want to take this opportunity to ask the US Government to at least rephrase
its travel advisory notes at a time where the American Airlines planes from
Miami and New-York are packed.
Ladies and Gentlemen
At the eve of commemorating its 200th anniversary, Haiti needs more trade than
aid. By looking at the possibilities of doing business there, you will, not
only make good money, but also contribute to the economic growth of a Nation
who prides itself to have contributed to one of the most decisive steps in the
progress of mankind.
THANK YOU ALL
Marie Claude Bayard
Association des Industrie d'Haiti (ADIH)
Miami Florida, July 26th 2003