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Workers Shut Down SONAPI Industrial Park in Haiti, Demanding Wages

SONAPI is the acronym for eSociété Nationale des Parcs Industrielsf (National Society of Industrial Parks), a semi-governmental agency that supports the largest number of jobs in the manufacturing sector in Haiti. Caracol Industrial Park (PIC) and Metropolitan Industrial Park are the properties of SONAPI which is an industrial and commercial autonomous body under public law responsible to implement, promote, organize and manage Industrial Parks in the Republic of Haiti. SONAPI was once a pride project of Haiti, opened in September 2012, with the objective of maintaining a constant initiative to boost the employment conditions in Haiti and create 60,000 jobs by 2016. However, since December 2013, news of wage differences started to come out, the brutal exploitation of workers in SONAPI have always remained in the news.

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Haitian workers at SONAPI Industrial Park not treated fairly

On May 11, 2017: Haitian Workers Shut Down Industrial park SONAPI in Haiti, demanding higher wages. What did they want exactly? One, Their demanded a minimum wage adjustment from 350 Gourdes ($5.50 US) to 800 Gourdes ($12.60) per day. In addition, they want meals, transportation, housing subsidies. They also want that production quotas do not increase with the increased minimum wage.

Recent report would suggested that SONAPI as well as Caracol Industrial Parks have been doing very well. As per "Lenouvelliste'", production at Caracol Industrial Park increased by 154% for the third quarter (July-September 2014).

The real rate of unemployment in Haiti is around three quarters of the population despite the government record shows it at 40%.

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Chinese entrepreneurs see great opportunities in Haiti

Chinese entrepreneurs and the opportunities offered by Haiti

The 9th summit China-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC CHINA) that was held recently at the Palace of Communication and Culture of Guadalajara in Mexico from October 13-15 2015 was quite an eye opening event for several Chinese companies. Out of 1,500 Chines investors present, many were interested in the textile revolution that seems to be taking place in Haiti. At least 10 potential Chinese entrepreneurs are interested in visiting Haiti's National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI).

These companies are focusing in textile and footwear as key sectors for investment. They are also interested in building infrastructure and bio-agriculture as well in Haiti.

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Clothes manufacturer Hansae to build factory in Haiti, creating 5,000 jobs

Hansae to build apparel factory in Haiti

It is not all that bad in Haiti. While we continue to fight among ourselves, Seoul-based company Hansae is planning to take full advantage of the Hope Act by building a new apparel factory in Haiti. They just signed an agreement with Sonapi Industrial Park on Tuesday with the objective to build a new, fully equipped plant.

They will be able to create over 5,000 new jobs in Haiti.

As the company is looking at becoming even a bigger competitor in the apparel field, Haiti is the most attractive location for them at this time. Hansae is considered to be one of the world's largest apparel makers. They currently employ over 60,000 employees from 11 countries. They currently manufacture for companies such as Nike, Gap, H&M, Uniqlo and Abercrombie & Fitch.

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SONAPI, Bernard Schettini replaces Georges Barreau Sassine

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wilson Laleau, attended the ceremony of the installation of SONAPI's new Director General, that was held at the headquarters of SONAPI (National Society of Industrial Parks) located at the Metropolitan Industrial Park. Mr. Bernard Schettini was appointed as the new Director General in place of Mr. Georges Barreau Sassine. Honorary Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wilson Laleau presented a speech during the installation ceremony in which he said that SONAPI is the institution that should be regulating, promoting and looking after the development of industrial parks throughout Haiti.

As for the appointment of the new Director General of SONAPI, Mr. Laleau said that first time in last 40 years, the government is committed towards the creation of new employment opportunities in Haiti and hence, the task of the new Director General will be a massive one. The new Director General, Mr. Bernard Schettini, said that SONAPI's mission is to create new jobs, which has to be a continuous process. He said that wealth creation is also a simultaneous goal. Apart from this, Mr. Schettini also responded to two out of total four goals set by President of Haiti and said that SONAPI's target is to increase its physical capacity gradually and that this can be achieved through new parks establishment and expansion of the already existing parks.

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