Economist says DR-CAFTA “will bring poverty”

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

Economist says DR-CAFTA “will bring poverty”

18 March 2007

Santo Domingo.- Dr Emilio Cordero Michel has warned that the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America, known as DR-CAFTA, far from being a panacea, “will only fill the Dominican Republic with poverty and problems that we will never be able to solve”.

The prominent economic and social historian said that the large amount of cheaper imports will lead to the disappearance of local production.

Cordero Michel, who is vice president of the Dominican Academy of Sciences, made these comments during a panel discussion on “Free Trade Agreements in Dominican History” held yesterday, attended by Dominican economists and academics. “They are going to import rice, beans, onions, garlic, corn - all the vegetables that we grow - at lower prices, as well as basic items such as shirts, pants, pasta and everything we produce here,” he said.

“This means we will become a sort of Puerto Rico with a flag, coat of arms and anthem, but a sub-colony, producing only Free Trade Zones”, he added.

Dr Cordero Michel stated that the entry into effect of DR-CAFTA at the beginning of the month would cause national production to disappear.

He went on to say that the new situation in the national economy meant that only new crops like flowers would survive, “but our traditional products would have to be imported”.

“Do you think that we can compete with a pasta factory in Costa Rica, which receives state subsidies and where electricity is cheap and reliable?” asked Cordero Michel.

The event, which was chaired by the president of the Dominican Academy of History, José Chez Checo, included presentations by Dr. Roberto Cassá and Fr. José Luis Alemán. Dr. Jaime Domínguez, José del Castillo and Arturo Martínez Moya also took part.

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