Diaspora

Haiti to lose 4,000 textile jobs due to fall in US demand – Macau Business

Haiti’s textile industry will shed at least 4,000 jobs by year’s end due to the slowdown in the US market, further hurting an impoverished Caribbean country already racked by unemployment, instability and gang violence.
The Haitian subsidiary of the South Korean textile group Sae-A, which currently employs 10,000 people in the Caribbean country, announced the sharp cut in its workforce via a press release dated July 4.
“Due to the recent economic decline in the US market, 45 percent of orders from our US retail customers have been cancelled,” said S&H Global, which supplies the Gap, Target and Walmart, among others.
That drastic reduction in activity is pushing the industry to “lay off up to 4,000 employees by the end of the year,” said the company, calling it “a heartbreaking situation.”
S&H Global started operating in Haiti in 2012, when the Caracol industrial park opened near the country’s second city Cap Haitien on the northern coast. 
In its warehouses, where scores of sewing machines are lined up, many members of the overwhelmingly female workforce found their first formal job in a country where nearly half of the population suffers from food insecurity.
The expected reduction in industrial activity comes as Haiti slips ever deeper into political crisis, a year after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. 
With no election in sight to fill the power vacuum, the police force does not have the manpower or resources to take on the gangs across the country that have risen from their slum bases to take over several key strategic highways. 
The gangs have unleashed a wave of kidnappings and fought turf wars that have paralyzed most socio-economic activity in Port-au-Prince. 
In an economy at half mast for several decades, with almost non-existent international tourism due to political instability and insecurity, subcontracting factories have been the main provider of formal jobs, with nearly 50,000 people currently employed. 
Under US law, any textile company established in Haiti can export its goods to the United States without customs fees. The Haitian minimum wage, slightly increased in February, is just 0.73 euros per hour, another strong argument for setting up factories in the country.

source

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