Industry and Commerce chief: The US has not concluded reviewing FTA

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

Industry and Commerce chief: The US has not concluded reviewing FTA

16 February 2006

Santo Domingo.- Industry and Commerce minister Francisco Javier Garcia blamed the US Trade Office for delays in reviewing documentation pertinent to the country’s entrance in the Free Trade Treaty with United States and Central America (DR-CAFTA).

Also, he warned that the Dominican Republic will not negotiate issues that were not addressed by the Treaty, nor a possible modification to Law 173, referent to protection for importers.

The official explained that, as of the 15th to the 31st of December, US personnel was to have reviewed the material that was deposited by the country and call on the Dominican technicians to make any pertinent revisions.

Yet, the Dominican Republic was not addressed during the stipulated period, due to work overload at the US Trade Office (USTO), which Garcia described as a “small entity with limited personnel.”

During an interview outside of his offices at the National Palace, the official disclosed that the country is scheduled to meet with the USTO.

Notwithstanding, Garcia was emphatic in pointing out that “if this issue has not advanced, it is not by fault of the Dominican Republic,” and explained that “we have insisted and are on call, and if summoned to a meeting tomorrow, we will have our team ready.”

He discarded that delayed revisions of the documentation would impede entering the FTA by the stipulated date of July 1st.

Garcia said that, though the Dominican technicians requested a thorough discussion of issues, the debate was of a general nature.

The official surmised that “what we prefer is a face-to-face meeting, and that during that encounter, all issues be discussed.” The recently held meeting with the US trade authorities was held via tele-conference.

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