Haiti is a small and beautifulisland in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richterscale had an immediate and devastating effect affecting the lives of 2.2million people living in the Western Province of the country. Despite the outpouringhelp from various countries from all across the globe, the economic aftershocksof the quake cannot be dismissed. Domestic industries will experience a drasticset back, with the disaster of the quake discouraging the existing businessmen,and the future investors. Haitis apparel industry is one among the deeplyaffected sectors.
Till the tremors of the quake shook thecountry, Haitis economy had witnessed a positive growth since 2005. Cheaplabor availability in the country, brought textile and garment assembly work tothe island. Though the country gained less profits due to global competition,apparel sector of Haiti constituted to two-third of the total exports of thecountry during 2008. Tariff-free access to the US increased the apparel exportsthereby improving the economic situation of the island.
Apparel industry, accounts fortwo-thirds of Haiti's annual $350,000,000 exports to the United States. It was the 17th largest supplier of apparel products by volume tothe US, with an export value of $42 million during the period, Jan-Oct during2009. This was a positive increase of 22% when compared with the correspondingperiod of the previous year. As per the WorldCity analysis of Census datareleased recently, Haiti was witnessing an increase in the apparel exports to America. US is the biggest trade partner of Haiti, and 75% of the latters exports to the US are apparels, and textiles. The level of damage caused to the basic infrastructure bythe earthquake will have a deep impact in the apparel manufacturing activitiesfor quite some time.
The disastrous earthquake hasseverely affected the manufacturing facilities in the country. Apparelmanufacturing firms have reported rigorous damage at their manufacturingfacilities. Three of the four factories of American based Hanes brands Inc wereaffected by the quake, and one facility was considerably damaged. One out ofthe three textile factories of the Canadian clothing company Gildan Active wearwhich is involved in the production of their products had been severelydamaged. Gildian does not have vertically integrated manufacturing facilitiesbut uses third party contractors to sew the fabric.
Despite the economists positivelybelieve that the quake will not be a fatal blow, Haiti is a small nation with asmall economy having a GDP of only $11.53 billion as per the 2008 data. Thenatural disaster will be a serious setback to Haiti causing a temporary shiftin the growth trajectory of the country. It will cause an immediate setback onthe local economy of the country.
Various organizations areoffering their assistance to lend a hand in the shocking aftermath of thequake. The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) is coordinatingwith other relief organizations for donating clothing and other accessories.After the disastrous earthquake has toppled the countrys economy, it isoptimistically believed Haiti will be able to shape its own economic future.