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Prices up instead of down

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

Prices up instead of down

6 May 2007

Santo Domingo.- Prices of articles included in the free trade agreement between the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States, DR-CAFTA, which is already in effect have not come down. If anything, they have increased. Small businesses are claiming that wholesale prices are more expensive.

Consumers are complaining, and market vendors say that for the last 15 days imported products like soy, garlic, milk and oils are up by about 10 or 15 pesos.

Villa Consuelo market trader Manuel Odalis Casado said, “what has happened is the opposite. Instead of going down as expected, some items included in the Free Trade Agreement are more expensive.

The same is the case in supermarkets, and managers say they are not responsible for the price increases.

“This is not going to happen overnight. Some goods are in the warehouse and until they are sold out the suppliers can’t sell cheaper. This is a process and people must wait until we restock”, said César Gutiérrez Medina who is in charge of stock at a Santo Domingo supermarket.

Colmado owners say that their suppliers don’t want to reduce prices, and that retailers would reduce theirs when this happens.

As traders pass the buck, the one who suffers is the consumer. The continuous fuel price rises are another factor in keeping goods prices high, but apart from that there is no excuse in the context of DR-CAFTA.

Customs Director Miguel Cocco says that consumers have to fight for their rights and demand that traders lower their prices. Some consumers accuse the government of allowing unfettered speculation to take place. Many say they have no faith in the FTA and believe that higher prices will be the rule from now on.