New sanctions from Haitian govt. affecting imports

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Nonprofit unable to ship items to Haiti
New sanctions from Haitian govt. affecting imports

Updated: Friday, 26 Feb 2010, 1:38 AM EST
Published: Thursday, 25 Feb 2010, 9:41 PM EST

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Haiti Foundation Against Poverty has 20,000 pounds of supplies to send to Haiti, but the nonprofit organization cannot ship the items.

The group has food, water and even tents sitting inside its warehouse, waiting to be sent. But those supplies will remain there because the Haitian government has imposed sanctions on items coming in to the country.

Shipments like this one will have to be signed over to the Haitian government before they are distributed, because businesses in Haiti were importing goods, posing as relief shipments -- which aren't taxed.

This new policy means the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty can't do much.

"We are hoping and praying that this is just temporary suspension and hold," said Kim Chapin, of the foundation.

"We're not turning away donations.

We're just hoping and praying that the government will relent and that somehow, by getting the news out there, that this will put pressure on the Haitian government and let us bypass this."

If charitable organizations don't want to turn their goods over to the Haitian government for fear they won't get to those in need, they must pay the tariffs attached to imports.

An organization such as this Grand Rapids foundation would have to pay up to $40,000 in tariffs to get their supplies to the needy.

Elizabeth Faraone, February 26 2010, 12:22 PM

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