2023 AAPN CODEVI Haiti/Dominican Republic Regional & Tour

Two dozen AAPN attendees and 17 speakers and local hosts were on the 2023 AAPN CODEVI Haiti/Dominican Republic Regional & Tour, hosted by Grupo M on March 21 - 24.

The itinerary included tours of the CODEVI industrial park three hours from Santiago DR, in Ouanaminthe Haiti, just across the border from Dabajon, DR.

See photos of our tour here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146888332@N02/albums/72177720307074993

The agenda included:

Joseph Blumberg, Managing Director | Grupo M/CODEVI
Joseph and his team put together an extremely logistically challenging agenda - bus rides, meetings, tours, networking, meals and more - flawlessly. The speakers each shared highly useful content with spirited interaction. AAPN owes Joseph, Anibal Capellan and their team big time. Joseph gave us the background on Grupo M’s vision for CODEVI and history of investment and growth. Click HERE for presentation.

The State of Business in the DR Free Zone Sector

Jose Manuel Torres, Executive Vice President | Dominican Association of Free Zones (ADOZONA)

— 705 free zones in the Americas
— 82 free zones in the D.R. 
— Operating in 28/32 provinces in DR
— 1.2M direct jobs tied to DR Free Zones
— Textiles manufacturing employees - 35K out of 192k total; 54% female
— The DR exports nearly $1 billion in textiles/apparel. 
— CODEVI park in Haiti, 32 buildings comprising over 4 million square feet employ 20,000 Haitians. 
— GOAL: Transform the DR into the Logistics hub of the Americas

Click HERE for presentation

Free Trade Agreements (DR/Haiti)

Andrew Samet, Partner Co-Founder | Sorini, Samet & Associates
— “CODEVI is an ecosystem with huge potential. Where do you have a better ability for transparency than here, on labor conditions, environment, sustainability, circulatory and more?”. 
— Near-shoring drives transparency - social and ESG
— CBTPA - is only important to Haiti at this point because of DR/CAFTA
— Paperwork for CBTPA is actually easier than Haiti HOPE HELP
— Near-shoring + security = opportunity

Click HERE for presentation

Sustainability As Your Business Strategy

Yomayra Martinó, Lead Consultant | GreEnergy Dominicana
— How different countries are looking at sustainability - DR/Haiti, CAFTA & US.
— KW of power is 19 - 21 cents in HT, same to Honduras - power comes from DR national grid
— Winds Group - solution dyed textiles in Codevi to save water

 Click HERE for presentation

Vino, Head of CODEVI Security
— Runs an intelligence, law enforcement and military with 20 US military vets - in place for 4 months.
— Training 50 Haitian nationals to be the new security force with US training & standards

The State of Business in the Haiti Free Zone Sector
Nathalie Hermathin, Executive Vice President | Dominican Association of Free Zones (ADOZONA)
— Haiti has a young population with about 87% unemployment
— CODEVI started in 2002, certified/regulated in 2012
— HOPE started in 2006, HELP 2010, renewal 2015
— 2020 60k jobs in Textile sector
— Export sector = 41.7% textiles (knit tees)
— There are public and private parks 
…….Sonapi Industrial Park - public
…….Caracol - public, in north
…….Codevi and Caracol are the most impactful in Haiti
…….Both are in the north - securing the future of Haiti
— Continue the concept of Charter Cities - future of Haiti, ie for every 1 job 8 more jobs are created. 

Click HERE for presentation

Better Work Haiti

Claudine François, Programme Manager
Claudine - Better Work Haiti/ILO
— ILO/IFC partnership
— PAC - goverment, employers & trade union work together on each project by COO
— Purchasing practices initiative - review of brands purchase practices with factories

Click HERE for presentation

This was a total immersion tour - production, sustainability, social responsibility, politics, textiles - you name it. Our overall host, Fernando Capellan of Grupo M, commented, “This tour is part of the solution to the reality of Haiti”.   

On the 3rd day, we toured the Santiago Free Zone Corporation starting with a tour of the Finotex label making factory. Later, the group split with some touring the RJ Torres Resonance operation and others going to the Arturo Fuentes cigar factory. 

Click HERE for more information on Santiago Free Zones

AAPN’s Lynsey Jones, who ran Carter’s Hong Kong office for over 2 years, said it was the first time she experienced Asian level planning and services on a trip in this hemisphere. 

Adolfo Solorzano of American Elastic and Tape wrote, "Honestly, a flawless tour - both logistically and content. Nothing was dull, everything was on point and nothing lacked. I could have easily done another two days of it. You all did an amazing job putting this together. As one of the newbies to the group - I experienced that special thing the AAPN has - the people, the camaraderie, the bonding - this was priceless”.

Andrew Dreher of GC Moore wrote, “I have been in the narrow fabric business for nearly 40 years and this was my first trip to DR/ Haiti. The Central American/ Caribbean region as a whole has great potential”. There is still much work to be done to be able to achieve lasting commitments to "The West" from the major retailers and brands”.

In closing the meeting, Joseph Blumberg of Grupo W shared, “The 2010 AAPN meeting in Miami on Sustainability was a turning point for Grupo M. We realized we had world class social responsibility and environmental disciplines.”

Last week, we saw the WSJ headline, "How Bank Oversight Failed: The Economy Changed, Regulators Didn’t”. It’s the same in our industry - sourcing changed, sourcing managers didn’t. Before covid it was far-shoring. Post-covid it is well-maybe-more-far-shoring. 

Near shoring is real. We saw it, we walked it, we asked about it, we learned it and we now believe that CODEVI and other investments like it are real, are here, are NEAR and the big brands already know this. 

AAPN has promoted for years that "Closer is Clearer" - our membership in the Americas is in the same time zone, with nations, industries, societies and histories wrapped together tightly, enjoying decades of major brand production”. The Americas - easier, faster, better, safer and cheaper.