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9697: Durban to Karshan on creating 100,000 jobs (fwd)

From: Lance Durban <lpdurban@yahoo.com>

Michelle Karshan:
     My query last week about the Haitian Government's plans to
create the 500,000 jobs promised a year ago was not intended to
annoy.  Indeed, if a campaign promise is made there should be
some plan to bring it to fruition.  (Mind you, if it was only
campaign rhetoric, then the office holder should be ready to
answer some difficult questions... first and foremost by the
people who voted him into office).  But please, bear with me...
     The latest issue of "Bobbin", a trade publication for the
sewing industry includes some interesting trade data showing
that both Haiti and the DR have lost market share of U.S.
clothing imports in the past year:

          12 Months       % of Total U.S.   % Change from   
            Ending       Clothing Imports    Previous Year
         ------------    ----------------    -------------
  HAITI    06/30/99           0.49%               n/a
           06/30/00           0.44%              +0.80%
           06/30/01           0.42%              -2.64%

DOMINICAN  06/30/99           4.60%               n/a
 REPUBLIC  06/30/00           4.24%              +3.80%
           06/30/01           4.08%              -0.35%

That's right, the DR's considerably smaller population ships 10
times Haiti's volume.  Shocking statistics when one starts with
the fact that sewing is a very labor intensive business that
should favor the least expensive labor force.  It still takes
lots of people operating relatively inexpensive machines sewing
zillions of pieces of fabric together to create the clothes we
all wear.  Indeed, low wages have almost completely knocked U.S.
labor out of the picture even though Americans buy tons of
	Now, there are lots of people who think that Haiti shouldn’t
bother with such low wage jobs.  Corbett people in that camp
(Kathy Dorce, Tom Driver, et al) might like to propose other
sources of new employment for 500,000 job seekers.  Personally,
I favor sticking with the tried and true where a ready market
already exists.
	Let’s assume we want to increase Haiti's U.S. market share by a
factor of 10...  We want to be supplying 4.2% of the clothing
imported into the U.S. by the time your patron, President
Aristide, leaves office.  If 10,000 Haitians are employed in
sewing for export now (my guess), a tenfold increase in the U.S.
import market will require the creation of 100,000 new jobs... a
bit less than what was promised, but heck this is only one
	So how do we get there?  Here are 7 concrete proposals that
don’t cost much:

 1. President Aristide should get out and spend a couple of 
    days visiting a half dozen sewing plants... to listen
    and learn.   Local management already in this industry
    is the best source of information on what is needed to
    expand market share tenfold.

 2. Facilitate the accelerated import and export of
    containers of work.  Recognize that taxing imports of
    piecework which is going to be re-exported will deter
    such work from ever entering Haiti in the first place.
    Countless jobs have already been driven elsewhere by
    your Ministry of Finance and I can give specifics.
 3. Encourage potential customer visits to Haiti and roll
    out the red carpet as most other countries do.  Work
    out a huge discount with a local hotel for first time
    business prospects who have registered with the 
    Ministry of Commerce and/or the Association of Haitian
    Industries (ADIH).

 4. Solicite a new kind of bi-lateral aid from Taiwan. Ask 
    them to assist THEIR textile (fabric) manufacturers by
    paying for free shipment of containers containing 
    fabric to Haiti.  In exchange, offer them duty free
    entry of ALL such fabric shipments even those for the
    local market.  Your natural ally are Taiwanese textile
    mills.  Suddenly your industry will be able to offer
    'full package' to U.S. customers at truly competitive
    prices.  (Figure out how many jobs are created by each
    container to help with your scorekeeping assignment in
    point 7 below).  
 5. Check out Haiti Trade Mission 2002 on my company's 
    website <www.manutec.com>.  This subsidized weekend
    excursion next March for potential investors is geared
    mostly to our electronics business, but if President
    Aristide will come out and be one of the keynote 
    speakers at our Sunday Morning Conference, we’d be
    glad to work with the Association of Haitian 
    Manufacturers to use our weekend event to match sewing
    people from the States with Haitian companies already
    in the business.

 6. Most sewing contractors pay by piecework, and my guess
    is that most Haitian contractors are using either a 
    completely manual or rudimentary computer system...  
    costly and error-prone.  My company has a fully 
    automated piecework payroll system that is perfect for
    sewing (regrettably, somewhat less appropriate for our 
    electronics business).  We would be amenable to 
    making it available to the Haitian sewing industry 
    assuming the U.S. software owner is protected. 

 7. Keep score and change mindset.  The Haitian Government
    should know exactly how many people are employed in
    this sector every month, and all Ministries should be
    made aware of the importance of raising the score.
    Keeping score is the easy part, however; since many
    Haitian Ministries currently see the private sector
    as the enemy and act accordingly!  Getting public and
    private sectors to work toward the same goal is a given
    in the States, but quite the opposite in Haiti.

In closing, I do applaud your public relations efforts to
promote Haiti.  I continue to believe, however, that private
sector job creation will do a lot more for your country than any
international loans.  The latter, I fear, would only be
frittered away with little to show.   

Best regards,
Lance Durban

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