This week, the Textiles team at USTR is attending the MAGIC trade show in Nevada. MAGIC is the largest trade event for the textiles and apparel industry in the United States, convening thousands of business leaders in textiles, fashion and accessories twice a year to share planning and sourcing tools. The trade event kicked off in Las Vegas on Sunday and will wrap up today.
This week at MAGIC, over 20 Haitian firms are showcasing garments from t-shirts to tuxedos at the “Sourcing in the Americas” Pavilion. Sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the “Made in Haiti” exhibit showcases the Plus One for Haiti program and the continued recovery and growth in the Haitian apparel industry. The Haitian companies are present along with other regional manufacturers in a series of events at the Pavilion designed to strengthen the textile and apparel supply chain in the Western Hemisphere.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk launched the Plus One for Haiti program at last year’s February 2010 Magic convention in the wake of the devastating earthquake. As part of U.S. efforts to aid in Haiti’s economic recovery, this initiative encourages U.S. brands and retailers to work towards sourcing 1 percent of their total apparel purchases from Haiti.
Following the launch of the Plus One program and the expansion of trade preferences for Haiti in early 2010, major investments have been announced in the Haitian apparel industry, including a new 623-acre textile industrial park that is estimated to support thousands of additional jobs once fully developed. The new industrial park will have a dedicated electricity plant, modernized port infrastructure, wastewater treatment, and factory shells. The industrial park is being built as a joint effort between the U.S. and Haitian governments and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB.)
Apparel is a critical sector in Haiti’s developing economy. Exports of apparel make up roughly 85 percent of Haiti’s total exports to the U.S. In 2010, Haiti exported over $517 million in apparel goods to the U.S., and year to date 2011 exports have increased by 52 percent so far in 2011. Haiti’s textile manufacturing industry employs over 30,000 workers.