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Agro producers favor postponing DR-CAFTA

Dominican Today

Agro producers favor postponing DR-CAFTA

19 December 2005

Santo Domingo.- The Pork Industry Association, president Jose Alba, considered that not entering the Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) in January 2006 would be a welcomed break for the productive sector. This grace period, in his view, would be well-used to correct distortions in the tax system and enable competitiveness.

Alba said that the warning made by US ambassador Hans Hertell stating that the Dominican Republic may not be ready to enter de DR-CAFTA on January 1st, means that [the break] "is beneficial for national production, since the country has not yet prepared for the FTA and, given present conditions, would not survive especially since other contries’ governments are facilitating things for their farming producers."

Alba explained that the main problem confronted by agriculture producers is cost, since fertilizers used in producing basic foods have been levied, which means that, in the near future, when grocery stores are stocked with subsidized imports, consumers will prefer the latter, rather than local produce.

He added that due to the afore-stated, many producers will go bankrupt.

In addition, Alba said that "bank credit rates are no lower than 30%, while fuels are the most expensive across the continent, which elevates costs, with the added expensive energy supply, and even the telephone service that carries a 28% tax charge."