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Dominican Republic not eligible for money from DR-CAFTA

Dominican Today, Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic not eligible for money from DR-CAFTA

1 April 2008

Santo Domingo.- The Dominican Republic and Guatemala are the only two countries in DR-CAFTA that have not been able to access money from the Millennium Account due to internal issues.

According to Jose E. Signoret, the director of the Office for Strengthening Commercial Capacity -belonging to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)-, this is based on some 20 indicators, such as corruption, governance, and improving the general population’s quality of life.

"A country does not have to score high on all 20 indicators, but there are some that are critical for the Dominican Republic," Signoret stated. Since the Dominican Republic has a higher per capita income than Honduras and Nicaragua, there are stricter rules to follow.

"The indicators have not moved much and the problem is that they have stayed more or less the same," said the official referring to the latest report that covered October and November 2007 against the 2005 figures.

Duty Greene, USAID/Dominican Republic’s Economic Policy Advisor pointed out that the three main criteria are governance, the economy and the social sectors (education and health). The economist said that the reduction in the time needed to start a business was encouraging, but the major problem was in the indicators on corruption.