Cuba and the DR set to improve trade relations

25 April 2017

Cuba and the Dominican Republic have agreed on a basis on which a partial scope free trade agreement will be negotiated between the two nations.

The agreement is expected to lead to the two largest independent Caribbean economies negotiating significant tariff reductions, the easing of non-tariff barriers, and agreement on the harmonisation of phytosanitary and other regulations that currently impede trade between the two nations. A final text is expected to be ready in 2018.

The General Framework Agreement was signed on April 8 in Santo Domingo by the Dominican Foreign Minister, Miguel Vargas Maldonado, and the Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Ileana Núñez Mordoche, on behalf of Cuba’s Foreign Trade Minister, Rodrigo Malmierca.

Speaking to Prensa Latina, Ms Núñez said that the agreement would strengthen economic and trade relations between Cuba and the Dominican Republic and help diversify Cuba’s export market for both goods and services. Observing that there were potential trade complementarities between the two nations, she said that the agreement was a step towards Cuba’s integration into the region, in particular with the Caribbean.

Dominican exports to Cuba have been growing rapidly in recent years. Cuban statistics show that in 2015 the Dominican Republic imported around US$38m of goods from Cuba, while total exports to Cuba stood at US$61m. Both nations observe that bilateral trade has grown significantly, with Dominican exports up by 70% between 2010 and 2015, and Cuban exports increasing by 38% over the same period.

In February, Cuba reached a separate agreement with CARICOM to mutually expand preferential….

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