This copy of a rare volume in its collections,
digitized on-site under the
LLMC Extern-Scanner Program,
is made available courtesy of the
Los Angeles County Law Library
UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION
One of a Series of Reports on
Mining and Manufacturing Industries
in the American Republics
LOS ATICLES COUNTY
UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION
OSCAR B. RYDER, Chairman
LYNN R. EDMINSTER, Vice Chairman
EDGAR B. BROSSARD
E. DANA DURAND
GEORGE Z. BARNES
E. K. WHITCOMB, Acting Secretary
This is one of a series of reports on Mining and
Manufacturing Industries in the Latin American Republics.
Other work in preparation by the Commission
relating to trade problems of the American Republics
includes a series of reports under each of the following
headings: Economic Controls and Commercial Policies;
Agricultural, pastoral, and Forest Industries; and
Recent Developments in Foreign Trade.
In the preparation of this report the Commission
had the services of Allyn C. Loosley and other members
of its staff. Grateful acknowledgment is made of the
assistance of Ellis M. Goodwin, of the Foreign Economic
Haiti-a summary description --
The Haitian economy 2
General characteristics of mining and
Mining industries ----
Manufacturing industries ------
Basic factors affecting the development of
manufacturing industries -- 6
Principal individual industries:
The electric-power industry 7
Food-processing and beverage industries -- 7
Other industries 8
Post-war prospects and problems of
Haitian indautry 9
MINING AND MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES IN HAITI
Haiti-a summary description.
The Republic of Haiti / occupies the western third of the
island of Hispaniola, which lies in the Caribbean Sea between
Cuba and Puerto Rico. Its area, about 10,700 square miles,
is somewhat greater than that of the State of Maryland.
Haiti is a rugged country, nearly four-fifths of the entire
area being mountainous. 2/ Three principal ranges traverse
the country; these are interspersed with and flanked by a
number of fertile valleys and plains of varying size. Com-
munication between the valleys and plains is difficult, making
them, in effect, independent economic units. Haiti possesses
no less than 12 seaports, each serving a valley or plain. 2/
There are numerous rivers in the country, most of them short;
in general, they are useful for irrigation but not for navi-
Haiti lies wholly within the Torrid. Zone, and, as in other
mountainous tropical areas, its climate varies with the altitude.
In the coastal regions, where the principal centers of popula-
tion are located, the climate is warm and equable. Rainfall
varies considerably in different parts of the country; certain
sections are arid, while others receive heavy precipitation.
In general, there are two rainy seasons, from April to June, and
from September to November.
Haiti is the most densely populated of the American repub-
lics. No census has been taken in Haiti, but it was estimated
1/ Officially known as R&publique d'Ralti.
SIn the southeastern range, elevations reach 8,790 feet,
and in the central range, about 5,600 feet. In the north the
mountains are lower, the highest being about 4,600 feet.
2/ Despite the number of ports, about three-fifths of all im-
ports and about one-third of all exports go through Port-au-
that in 1940 the population was approximately 2,663,000, or about
250 persons to the square mile. Many sections of the country,
however, are not habitable. By far the greater part of the
population is rural; the eight principal cities and towns to-
gether probably account for only 6 percent of the total. Port-
au-Prince, the largest city and the capital and chief port,-is
located in the southeastern part of the wide gulf which indents
the western end of Hispaniola. Its population is estimated to
be about 100,000. More than nine-tenths of the people of Haiti
are Negroes, and most of the remainder are mulattoes. The
official language is French. A large part of the population,
especially that in the rural areas, speaks a French patois known
as Creole. Y
The Haitian economy.
Haiti is an agricultural country. Although it is mountain-
ous, the numerous valleys and the several large plains are ex-
tremely fertile, and some of the elevated lands also may be uti-
lized for agriculture. Large estates existed during the colonial
period, but, at the present time there are only a few plantations
(sugarcane, sisal, and banana), all operated by United States
companies. Cultivation, therefore, is carried on chiefly by in-
dividual proprietors on small holdings, using primitive methods.
The principal export commodities are coffee, cotton,
sugar, sisal, bananas, cacao, and molasses. In 1938 these seven
products accounted for more than nine-tenths of the value of all
exports; coffee constituted 50 percent of the total; cotton,
15 percent; and sugar, 11 percent. 2/ Other export products
include goatskins, castor beans, cottonseed cake, honey, beeswax,
cashew nuts, rum, logwood, lignum vitae, and sisal handbags.
Corn, sweetpotatoes, beans, peas, rice, and manioc, as well
as a wide variety of other vegetables and fruits, are grown in
Haiti chiefly for domestic consumption. The country is self-
sufficient with respect to essential food requirements, although
imports of wheat flour, lard, and pickled fish supplement domestic
food supplies to some extent. The mineral resources of Haiti as
1/ Haiti is the only republic of the Western Hemisphere in which
French is the official language. It is one of the two Negro
republics in the world, the other being Liberia.
2/ This brief description of the Haitian economy relates pr-in
cipally to the period before the outbreak of the war.
2/ For a detailed analysis of the foreign trade of Haiti as
well as the other countries of Latin America in the decade 1929-
38, see U. S. Tariff Commission, The Foreign Trade of Latin
America (4 vols.), Report No. 146, Second Series, Washington,
SCALE Of MILES
8P-'n -s io r-'--&
SCALI .* -. "Si
M T 'I: A.t TW
IMPORTANT CITIES AND TOWNS .0
RAILROADS ................... .. +
RIVERS................... .' I _
A T L A N T / C
O C E A N
G U L : .' .. F
o r I 1
SCONA' A V
yet are undeveloped. There is little manufacturing in the
country except handicrafts and industries associated with the
first processing of agricultural products.
General Characteristics of Mining and Manufacturing
The mineral resources of Haiti have not been developed
commercially. Minerals occurring in the country include
gold, ./ silver, copper, iron, sulfur, kaolin, gypsum, and
limestone. Some salt is produced by the evaporation of sea
water. No petroleum is produced, and there are no petroleum
refineries in the country.
There are few industrial installations, other than
those associated with the first processing of agricultural prod-
ucts such as coffee, cotton, sugar, and sisal. No statistics
are available to show the number of workers, the capital invest-
ment, or the value of the output of Haitian manufacturing in-
Commodities manufactured in the country include sugar,
vegetable oils, alcoholic beverages, clothing, shoes, leather,
soap, candles, pharmaceutical preparations, bluing, cigarettes,
bricks, roof tiles, floor tiles, earthenware, household utensils,
lumber, and furniture. Production of almost all of these takes
place in small establishments employing limited capital and fev
wage earners. Practically all shop and factory manufacturing
takes place in Port-au-Prince; there are a few establishments
in Cap Haitien, Gonalves, St. Marc, Aux Cayes, and Port-de-Paix.
Except for sawmills, no new manufacturing industries have been
established in Haiti as a result of the war.
In addition to those operating on a shop or factory basis,
there are a number of home industries in Haiti. These produce
such articles as clothing (entirely from imported cloth), sandals
shoes, harness, pack-animal equipment, hand-laid cordage, lime,
charcoal, 3/ and hats, mats, bags, and various other articles of
sisal and straw.
/ Gold was washed during the colonial period.
2/ Line is used extensively to whitewash the dwellings of the
2/ Charcoal is the universal household fuel in the urban areas.
A T L A N T / C
O C EA N
Le Mole St I
G U L
O 0 N A / V c S
SCALt Of tKILOMCT
CAPITALS OF DEPARTMENT&.................
OTHER IMPORTANT CITIES AND TOWNS......
INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARIES ...........--
--------L.li.r;,,l;_.. ~ ~
Basic Factors Affecting the Development of Manufacturing
The development of Haitian manufacturing industries has
been retarded by the limited domestic market, by the lack of
industrial raw materials, fuel, and capital, and by the absence
of technical skill. The market for most imported or domes-
tically produced manufactures in Haiti is extremely small;
cotton textiles are a notable exception. Per capital income
is very low; nine-tenths of the people live on a basis of
Most of the raw materials utilized in Haiti's small manu-
facturing establishments are produced within the country.
Practically all machinery and equipment, however, must be ia-
ported. Except for charcoal and firewood, there are no
developed fuel resources. The potential supply of labor in
Haiti is large; were other conditions favorable, lack of labor
would not retard industrial development.
Haiti's transportation facilities are extremely limited.
Except for the Artibonite, the rivers are not navigable. /
The total railroad mileage in the country is 184, o which
the common-carrier line operates about 100 miles. Other
lines are operated by industrial and port projects. There
are approximately 1,800 miles of roads, connecting all
the important cities, but only about 200 to 300 miles may be
classed as motor highways. Many of the roads are impassable
after heavy rains; nevertheless, automotive vehicles play an
important part in the transportation of agricultural products./
Development of certain of the resources and industries of
Haiti has been undertaken by a Government-owned corporation,
the Soci6t6 Haitiano-Am&ricaine de Dbveloppement Agricole,
commonly known as SHADA. A/ The principal purposes of this
corporation, which was organized in July 1941, are the develop-
nent of the country's rubber and lumber resources, the growing
_/ The Artibonite is navigable in small boats for about 100
2/ The National Railroad Company of Haiti operates a line from
Port-au-Prince to St. Marc and Les Verrettes. The Cul-de-Sac
Railroad Company operates lines from Port-au-Prince to Le6gane,
and from Port-au-Prince eastward.
V/ As a result of tire and gasoline shortages during the war,
the use of motor trucks for hauling freight between seaports
has been prohibited.
4/ The corporation was financed by the Export-Import Bank
and marketing of certain agricultural products, and the foster-
ing of handicraft industries. Its project for the hand weav-
ing of cotton cloth from hand-spun thread, utilizing Haitian-
grown cotton, has already become virtually self-supporting.
On December 1, 1942, in an address given at an exhibition
of Haitian handicraft work, President Elie Lescot outlined the
general economic policy of Haiti. He indicated that the
country is basically agricultural, and that no large-scale ex-
pansion of manufacturing industry could be justified. If the
Government of Haiti follows the program outlined by President
Lescot, it will encourage only small industries producing such
commodities as soap, batter, lard, salted beef, embroidery,
straw hats, certain cotton textiles, and furniture. Here-
tofore, development of even such small industries has been
retarded in large part by lack of domestic purchasing power.
Principal Individual Industries
The electric-power industry.
Although Haiti is mountainous, there are few rivers or
streams that might be used to generate hydroelectric power.
There is one small hydroelectric plant in the country; most
of the electric power is generated by Diesel engines using
imported oil. There is a total of 11 electric plants in the
country; 6 of these provide electricity for the principal
towns, and 5 furnish power for manufacturing enterprises.
The public service plants are at Gonatves, Cap Haitien, Aux
Cayes, Jer6mie, Jacmel, and Port-au-Prince. Industrial electric
plants are at St. Marc, Cap Haitien, Fort-Libert6, and Port-
au-Prince (2). The largest installation is the municipal
plant at Port-au-Prince, with a capacity of about 2,850 kilo-
watts. I/ The second largest, an industrial plant in the
same city, has a capacity of 1,500 kilowatts. No other plant
in the country has a capacity exceeding 600 kilowatts.
Food-processing and beverage industries.
The Haitian food-processing and beverage industries con-
sist principally of small establishments producing vegetable
oils, rice, rum and other alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks.
1/ 3,550 kilovolt amperes.
There is a modern pineapple canning plant at Cap Haitien, but
it is not in operation.
There is one large sugar mill, located at Port-au-Prince,
which produces about 40,000 tons of raw sugar annually, as well
as molasses, and some refined sugar, rum, and alcohol. V/
Cottonseed, peanut, castor, and coconut oil are processed in
Haiti. Of the three vegetable oil establishments, two are at
Port-au-Prince and one at St. Marc. The mills at Port-au-Prince
crush cottonseed. Of the eight more important rice mills,
five are at Gonalives, two at Port-au-Prince, and one at St. Marc.
There are many small distilleries producing rum, clairin,
and tafia for local consumption. Several produce bay rum,
cologne, and perfume. The distillery of the Haytian-American
Sugar Co., at Port-au-Prince, is the only establishment with
modern distilling equipment. A brewery at Port-au-Prince was
in operation until 1935.
Although the raising of livestock is encouraged, there
are few cattle in the country, 2/ and the tanning and leather-
products industries are small. The four more important
tanneries are at Port-au-Prince; their annual capacity ranges
from 4,000 to 20,000 sides per year. Shoe factories are
operated in conjunction with three of these tanneries.
Only one cigarette factory is in operation; there are no
important cigar-manufacturing establishments in the country.
Most of the people use tobacco in the form of raw leaf.
Haitian forest resources are not extensive. The three
sawmills in the country, operated by SHADA, are producing at
a rate of 3 million board feet of pine lumber annually.
Virtually no metal products are produced. There are a
number of small forges, as well as some automobile repair shops,
welding shops, and similar establishments. The sugar mill at
Port-au-Prince has extensive repair facilities.
/ There are many small mills, usually operated by animal
or water power, which produce rapadon, a low-grade brown sugar.
2/ In 1933, the latest year for which data are available,
there were only about 100,000 cattle in the country.
Post-War Prospects and Problems of Haitian Industry
The problems of Haitian manufacturing industry in the
post-war period will not differ greatly from those before the
war. The economic future of the country appears to lie
largely in the further development of its agricultural,
pastoral, and forest resources, and of handicraft industries.
There may be a moderate expansion of certain industries pro-
ducing foodstuffs and light consumer goods for the domestic
market. It is unlikely, however, that in the near future
Haitian manufacturing establishments can supply more than a
small part of the country's demand for manufactured products.