Above: farmers in Haiti (UN Photo/Logan Abassi)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The United States Congress should help foster agricultural imports from Haiti, according to an issue brief from the Washington, DC-based think tank the Heritage Foundation.
The report brief, written by the Heritage Foundation’s James Roberts and Dr Ray Walser, was part of a wider call for more US engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Congress should promote increased US agricultural imports from Haiti by lowering tariffs and ending wasteful US agricultural subsidies for commodities such as sugar,” Walser and Roberts said.
The two called for Haiti to “continue to take advantage of US legislation” such as the HOPE Act, which covers textile imports, and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act.
According to a recent report by the US Government Accountability Office found that imports under a government allowance programme created under HOPE had increased “substantially.”
Each of the programmes gives duty-free incentives for the export of Haitian products, according to the report.
Walser and Roberts noted that, with Haiti continuing to receive significant amounts of foreign aid, “it is all the more important for Haiti to increase exports and create jobs at home so that Haitians are not tempted to take to the seas to sneak into the US.”
Haiti’s agriculture has been working to recover after being severely damaged by Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy in 2012, which destroyed nearly 70 percent of the country’s crops, according to government estimates.