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US supermarkets are coming to Dominican cities

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

U.S. supermarkets are coming to Dominican cities

20 March 2007

SANTO DOMINGO. — At least two United States supermarket chains have announced the start of operations in Dominican territory before the end of this year or in the first quarter in 2008, whereas Puerto Rican investors began the process to install tourism and real estate projects in the country, totaling 520 million dollars.

The director of the Export and Investment Center (CEI-RD), Eddy Martinez, said that he cannot reveal those names for strategic reasons, affirming that "everything is a question of time."

Wall-Mart is among the U.S. chains in a process to expand toward Central America and the Caribbean, whereas Home Depot, JC Penney, Sears and Target are among the potential investors in the country within the framework of the Dr-Cafta Free Trade Agreement.

"We are between this and next year. It’s inevitable that those supermarket chains arrive in the country and is only a question of time. It will be beneficial for the part of the consumers and the competition will increase for those who are in that business, but also are new opportunities for our producers," he said.

The official feels that the new chains to market products in the country will generate greater wealth, because aside from increasing the demand for products, it will also generate more jobs, new companies and there will be a greater product diversity in the market.

Martinez stressed that those chains also will generate a new demand the transport of products from production centers, which will also increase the demand for other services. "In fact we have seen an important growth in the interest shown by foreign investors in Dominican Republic from the onset of the Dr-Cafta," revealed the CEI-RD director.

He said that the interest to invest have been shown in almost all the productive sectors of the economy, mainly in commerce with important distribution chains from the United States; timber and agro-industrial projects, as well as to produce canned goods only for the American market.

He said that another interest is in tourism real estate with the construction of more rooms and projects, and revealed that the Government has received 3 formal proposals from Puerto Rican investors surpassing US$520 million. Among those projects is a tourism complex in the South; a mine in the East; one for marine transport for the Caribbean area, among others.

Martinez added that in tourism there are projects that are being formalized for the construction of a marina and other infrastructures in the sector. Other investments he said will come this and next year is one to produce medical implements for export.