Haiti Is Committed To Trade:
The United States is the main commercial partner of Haiti. It accounts for about 60% of the flows of exports and imports in the Haitian economy. Primarily Haiti exports coffee, mangoes, sisal and essential oils, while it imports petroleum products, foods, beverages and fats. For the fiscal year of 1992-93, exports (FOB) and imports (CIF) total respectively US$88.30 million and US$181.50 million.
The Haitian Government is committed to a free-market system. It guarantees to all persons and corporations involved in business in the country the following rights and privileges: Free disposal of their properties; Freedom to hire and fire in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code; Freedom to engage in commercial and industrial activities within the limitations of the Constitution and the Commercial Regulations Code; Protection of trademarks, patents, labels, and all other forms of intellectual property rights; Minimal intervention by the State in the market: Government regulated prices are reduced for five products and services including: oil, energy, telecommunications, transportation, and the minimum wage.
Furthermore, Haiti has signed treaties and conventions with many industrialized countries, in order to reciprocally protect foreign investments: with the United States in 1953 and 1983; France in 1973 and 1984; Germany in 1975, and Canada in 1980. The Haitian government since, has complied fully with all national and international laws regarding import and export, and also has been making all the necessary arrangements to encourage the shipment of goods from and to Haiti.
Requirements For Foreigner to Import to or Export from Haiti:
In order to start a cargo business in Haiti and start shipping goods and services to and from Haiti, foreigners need four basic documents: Residence Visa: an applicant presents his/her request in person or by mail to a Haitian diplomatic or consular mission abroad which transmits it to the Ministry of Interior via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The applicant will be notified of acceptance or denial of his/her request within two or three months. If the applicant is introducing his/her request in Haiti, he/she must contact directly the Ministry of Interior; Work Permit issued by the Ministry of Social Works following submission by the applicant of his/her passport, residence visa, job offer and a receipt from the Tax Office (Direction Générale des Impôts); License from the Tax Office (Direction Générale des Impôts); Registration Certificate from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
US Laws regarding Import and Export:
Tariff: A general term for any listing of rates, charges, etc. the tariffs most frequently encountered in foreign trade are: tariffs of the international transportation companies operating on sea, on land, and in the air; tariffs of the international cable, radio, and telephone companies; and the customs tariffs of the various countries, which list goods that are duty free and those subject to import duty, giving the rate of duty in each case. There are various classes of customs duties.For those who are interested in import and export business between Haiti and the US, you need to be aware of the following requirements:
Duty Free: A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, within the zone and re-exported without duties being paid. Duties are imposed on the merchandise (or items manufactured from the merchandise) only when the goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to the Customs Authority. Qualified export-oriented firms are during their whole life exempt from: Duties on import of materials, equipments, and accessories needed in the process of production; The Consular Fee; The Taxe sur le Chiffre d'Affaires (T.C.A.), and other internal duties but not storage charges and handling fees.
The 807th Article of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the USA: The 807/HTSUS program takes its root in the principle of the international division of work. It provides that a product assembled off-shore with U.S. origin components _ such a way that the physical identity of these components is not modified _ is subject to custom duties only on its value added abroad.
Haiti Laws regarding Import and Export:
Haiti has a fair system of taxation. The fiscal year runs from October through September. The principal taxes and fees are the following:
Taxes on Income, Profits and Capital Gains: By decree of October 2, 1988, the progressive system of tax brackets applicable to income, profits and capital gains received by individuals and artificial persons was extensively revised. The top bracket being reduced from 50% to 35% and the number of brackets reduced to five, as indicated in the following table. As a business involved in cargo shipping, a relatively similar tax rate will apply to your business.
Industrial license fee: Businesses working for the import and export market under the provisions of the Industrial Investment code are required to pay an occupational license fee consisting only of a fixed charge of Gdes 7,500.00.
Business License: The business license is an authorization issued to an individual or a company to enable them to engage in certain business, industries or professions within the territory of Haiti. Industrial or business licenses are paid annually (maximum fee: Gdes 2,500). If you shipping company is not exempt under the Industrial Investment Code pay a business license fee equal, respectively, to 1.5 or 2.5 times the charge for the occupational license.
When a business is involved in import and export and is shipping goods and services between Haiti and the US, there are several incentives it can take advantage of. The business might consider applying for a Tax Holiday in Haiti.
Criteria for Entitlement to Investment Incentives: A firm, to be qualified for Tax Holidays, has to meet one of the following criteria:
1) Intensive and efficient exploitation of available local resources;
2) Creation of new jobs and improvement of the professional qualification level;
3) Introduction or extension of new technology more appropriate to local conditions;
4) Creation and/or intensification of backward or forward linkages in the industrial sector;
5) Export-oriented production;
6) Utilization of local inputs at a rate equal or superior to 35% of the production costs;
7) Preparation, modification, assembly or finishing of products imported in bulk, or loose parts, provided that the final products will be re-exported.
On the other hand, the US offers even greater incentive for Cargo shipping.
The General System of Preferences is offered by most of the industrialized nations in favor of the developing countries. Each country has developed its own scheme. The United States provides a system whereby products designated in over 2,500 tariff positions under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules may be imported in duty free or with tariff reductions if: 1) the exporter country is a beneficiary country; 2) the products are shipped directly to the U.S.;and 3) their value added in the country of origin is greater than or equal to 35% of its "appraised value".
The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI): The CBI is a preferential system established by the U.S. in favor of the Caribbean and Central American countries. It provides duty free entry into the U.S. for approximately 3,500 products. The following products are excluded:
1) Textiles, except those made from linen or silk, or qualified as craft work
2) Watches and parts.
3) Petroleum and its byproducts.
4) Prepared or canned tuna.
5) Sugar, molasses and syrup.
Requirements: The product must come from an eligible country and be shipped directly to the U.S. The value-added in the beneficiary country for the exported product must be at least 35% of the value determined for custom purposes. The value of materials originating from other CBI beneficiary nations may be included in the above-mentioned 35% figure. Materials of U.S. origin may be included up to a maximum of 15% of the value determined for customs purposes.
If you are interested in import and export and shipping cargo from Haiti, you should seriously consider taking full advantage of the Tax advantages.
Requirements For an Import and Export Cargo Company In Haiti:
First Stage: The shipping company applicant must submit a formal request to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with documents (five copies) regarding:
1) The nature and the form of the company; location; bylaws, constitution, power of the signer(s), and bank references;
2) The list and origin of raw materials including technology choices;
3) Working patents and granting justification; the norms and specifications to be followed; provisions for quality control; energy sources to be used;
4) Detailed list of equipment and materials for production, handling, transport and maintenance that will be used, their origin and comparative costs;
5) A comprehensive five year business plan.
Upon receipt of that request the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will issue a deposit certificate in favor of the applicant.
Second Stage: The request of the shipping company applicant is transmitted to an advisory commission for review and sends its comments to the appropriate institutions.
Third Stage: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry notifies the shipping company applicant of its decision in 40-90 days. The decision notice is then published in the Government's official gazette; Le Moniteur as well as two highly circulated newspapers in Port-au-Prince.
Ports to Facilitate Cargo Shipping:
There are only two ways Cargo can get to Haiti: by sea or by air. Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitian are the two major ports. Other ports include Miragoâne and St. Marc. The major ports and harbors that facilitate shipping in Haiti are found in Cap-Haitian, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Les Cayes, Miragoane, Port-au-Prince, Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc. Port-au-Prince leading commercial port, followed by Cap-Haitian, which handled most cruise ship traffic. Lesser ports include Miragoâne, Les Cayes, Fort Liberté, Gonaïves, and Jérémie. There are a total of 13 airports in Haiti, four with paved runways and nine with unpaved runways. One international airport at Port-au-Prince. Eleven other airfields of varying quality.
Roads to Facilitate Cargo Shipping:
The highway system that is available for cargo transportation in Haiti includes 4,050 km (2,515.5 miles) of roads; 950 km (590 miles) paved; 950 km (590 miles) otherwise improved; 2150 km (1,335 miles) unimproved. In addition, over 3,700 kilometers of roads in 1989, 17 percent paved, 27 percent gravel or otherwise improved, and 56 percent unimproved dirt roads. Two paved highways linked northern and southern regions. There are no railroads available for cargo or passenger service. The only rail line was used at one point for transporting sugarcane.
There are several air cargo services currently serving Haiti. All major cities in Haiti, including , Port-au-Prince, Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc, Cap-Haitian, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Les Cayes have the capacity to receive or send cargo overseas in a matter of hours by some of the international air cargo services.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) provides bi-weekly passenger and charter flight services (Cessna - 6 Seats) to Pignon. Carib-Intair and Tropical Air flight services can provide charter flights (17 seats). Improvements are underway at the Pignon airport, which will permit a regular schedule of flights by Carib-Intair and Tropical Air flight services. More importantly, these improvements will permit Missionary Flights International (MFI) to provide passenger and cargo flight service (DC3 planes) between West Palm Beach, Florida, Cap-Haitian, Pignon and Port-au-Prince. MFI has been delivering much needed supplies directly into Pignon. A Customs' House has also been constructed at the airport to facilitate the delivery of passengers and goods.
North Star Airlines offers affordable air cargo service from JFK International Airport, New York, to Port au Prince, Haiti. Departures on Wednesday and Friday using all cargo B727-F aircraft. 23 years of experience to Haiti. All types of cargo and packaging accepted.
Lynx Air International offers a fast way to ship parcels to Cap-Haitian. Clients can be assured that their high priority parcel will arrive at its destination on the next available Lynx flight. They assure clients of being able to receive an emergency item at a very reasonable cost. Under special circumstances, C.O.D. express shipping may be approved.
Haiti Shipping Line transports containerized goods from anywhere in the world to the northern part of Haiti. Haiti Shipping Line is also the sole carrier handling all the Northern Haiti exports of Coffee, Cocoa, and Orange peels to North America and Europe.
Maersk Sealand in Haiti is always pleased and ready to offer you intelligent, reliable and seamless global transportation solutions. It is one of the largest liner shipping companies in the world, serving customers globally.