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#1744: Re: #1364: Haiti/DR: Free trade in goods, free trade in human beings? - A reply from Poincy

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

These are excerpts from post # 364 Haiti/DR: Free trade in goods, free
trade in human beings? A reply

>...the Haitian economy has been devastated by the influx of foreign goods now that import tariffs have been >all but eliminated. The destructive effect on domestic production, of rice imported from the US has been >referred to many times...

> ...free trade in goods is undermining an already incredibly weak Haitian economy? Yet it is the businesses >in the DR that are the main beneficiaries - the same sector that has for years benefitted from the >exploitation of cheap Haitian labour that has been set to work... Now the authorities in the Dominican >Republic want to stop the free movement of Haitians across the border. They want the Haitian State to control >the border, and allow Haitian labour to cross only when it is needed.
>Are these human beings, these Haitians, who are driven to cross the border to look for work, doing so perhaps >because the Haitian economy has been further weakened by the unrestricted import of Dominican goods that are >cheaper than Haitian goods thanks in part but in no small measure to the input of cheap Haitian labour over >the decades......

My comment

	Sorry folks for this late comment. It is too easy to blame free trade
and the influx of cheap goods for the defucnt Ayitian economy. With or
without those, the problem would remain, and be worse without. Free
trade is and has always been a blessing for the health of any economic
system. However, it seems to cause damage where a system is defective.
This is to say that the problem is not with free trade. An inefficient
resource allocation and ill productive system are the culprits.

	In fact, where these problems are chronic as it is the case in Ayiti,
free trade is a great rescue as it allows cheap goods to flood the
market to respond to the people's utility or need. What would ordinary
Ayitians (the poor that can't pay for a ticket to go to Miami and shop)
do without the cheap imported goods. I would understand the counter
argument, if Ayiti were capable of producing these goods which the
people are in dire need for. If these goods were not imported, the dying
cottage industries could not sustain due to high costs of production and
the people could not afford to buy the low quality expensive goods. We
must note that the cheap goods did not kill production in Ayiti which
was already dying.

	Provided that well conceived economic policies are put in place, free
trade should not be a problem. The benefits that it brings is an
increase in production of goods that can be exported. It remains for the
country to be competitive with its goods both on the internal and the
international market.

	In a good economic environment where production is flourishing and
other societies are interested in what Ayiti produces, there won't be
any need for Ayiti to produce "economic refugees". Some tend to look at
the Dominican Republic as the evil for its call for Ayitian cheap
labors. What they do makes great economic sense (not that I condone the
way they treat Ayitians). Now if they have no use for Ayitian workers it
does make economic sense to stop them from coming or reduce their flow.
We can't expect them to be an angel when they are striving to give life
to their economy.  

	Wait until Ayiti starts knowing economic success to see how it will go
about cheap labor. That's an economic logic which no society can dare

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live