August 8, 2016—Trade with Haiti has become much simpler and more efficient because of a new government website.
The Haiti Trade Information Portal, developed with assistance from Nathan Associates, provides a single access point for up-to-date trade, economic, and regulatory information helpful to potential importers and exporters. The portal is the first of its kind in the Caribbean basin.
The World Bank financed creation of the portal, which aims to lower transaction costs for traders, boost interagency collaboration, and move Haiti toward greater participation in global trade through fuller compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and agreements. The site includes an interactive, searchable, and up-to-date schedule of customs tariffs.
The portal “aims to increase transparency of trade procedures and regulations, creating a more attractive business environment for foreign direct investment,” said Jessy Petit-Frere, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, at the launch ceremony, held July 29 in Port-au-Prince. More than 100 people attended, including President Jocelerme Privert.
"The portal is now a part of the national heritage," Mr. Privert said. "May it not be considered as the responsibility of just one team but as an instrument in the hands of all economic actors to use and reflect the evolving laws of Haiti and international standards.”
Nathan Associates Inc. started on the project in October 2014, working in close partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), and SOLUTIONS, S.A., a local IT firm. Through a series of steering committee and technical work group meetings involving seven government agencies and two private sector organizations, the project team assembled data and a full array of information on trade procedures and legislation. The MCI now manages the portal.
Rachid Benjelloun, Nathan's senior vice president for trade and logistics, noted the "spirit of collaboration" that was critical to the successful launch and remains critical to maintaining the portal. The trade portal is the third supported by Nathan to open this year. The others are in Myanmar and Botswana.
Nathan Associates has three other Haiti projects. The firm is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to modernize the port of Cap-Haïtien in the north through regulatory strengthening and customs support projects.