The Dominican Today
4 November 2005
DR should emulate neighbors, be more aggressive with FTA
Santo Domingo.- Officials at the highest level along with private business persons from El Salvador are currently on tours that have been denominated as “CAFTA-Tours” throughout the United States, looking to attract investments, in addition to participating in work shops to train exporters on how to best benefit from markets to open with DR-CAFTA.
The challenge is on us in the Dominican Republic. Are we to take advantage of opportunities that DR-CAFTA offers to the region?
For instance, in the case of El Salvador, Wener Romero, economic adviser of the Salvadorian embassy in Washington, has recommended his country’s entrepreneurs to make use of assistance programs that the government offers through Exporta, the Salvadorian Export Agency.
El Salvador has quantified 2.5 million Salvadorians that live in the United Status, that consume ethnic products valued above US$450 millions,
The Dominican Republic has a population residing in the United States of over 1 million people. There seems to be a lack of information on the value of ethnic products that this community consumes.
Recently, countries in Central America agreed with the United States that, in exchange for concessions made to favor US textiles used in pockets for pants and jackets, Central American countries that produce pants and jackets will be gratified in exchange.
Yet, the Dominican Republic did not participate in these negotiations. Though benefits that are discussed within DR-CAFTA go to all countries involved, but local pants and jackets producers could have placed their own concerns and interests, had they been at the discussion table.
Another element to notice is that regional Heads of State recently met with Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierres, who visited Central America to pave the way for participating countries in DR-CAFTA, and enable president George Bush to duly certify them before the US Congress as ‘good to go’ with the trade agreement.
It is not known whether the Dominican Republic will be part of any specific negotiations.