DR, Cuba to explore partial scope free trade agreement

4 May 2016
Volume 39, Number 17

Cuba and the Dominican Republic are to explore the possibility of a partial scope free trade agreement.

The two sides have agreed the terms of reference for a joint study aimed at strengthening economic and commercial relations in a document signed on April 28 by Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Ileana Nunez, and Cesar Dargam, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Commercial Affairs and Trade Negotiations of the Dominican Republic.

The conclusions of the study will be presented to the two governments to enable them to decide whether to forge a strategic economic alliance aimed at strengthening trade ties.

Attending the signing were representatives of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Industrialists of the Dominican Republic. The signing took place in the margins of a business forum in Havana.

The Dominican business mission was one of the largest the Dominican Republic has ever taken abroad in recent years according to Mr Dargam. It consisted of 40 executives from leading Dominican companies and senior public sector officials and, according to Mr Dargam, reflected a desire by Dominican business to rapidly strengthen economic ties between the two nations.

In meetings, Mr Dargam and the President of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Hernandez, also agreed on the need to broaden and diversify bilateral trade in goods and services and to promote complementary investments. According to Rafael Canto Blanco, the President of the country’s powerful National Business Council (CONEP), joint co-operation and investment in tourism could become an
area from which both Cuba and the Dominican Republic could mutually benefit.

Previously, reports appearing in the Dominican media have suggested that work was progressing on the creation of a new Caribbean Economic Block that might bring together Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

In March, the President of the Dominican Republic Association of Industries (AIRD), Campos de Moya, was quoted as saying that AIRD and the Puerto Rico Association of Industries had agreed to continue working to develop a business climate that increases competitiveness and establishes strong productive linkages between each other and with third countries. Puerto Rican and Dominican business representatives are, he said, also looking to establish links with Cuba.

Circe Almanzar, the Executive Vice President of the Dominican Republic Association of Industries (AIRD), had said at the time that the objective would be to unite the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Carlos Rivera Velez of the Puerto Rico Association of Industries speaking in the Dominican Republic at the time to the local media, said that he believed it was necessary to capitalise on the new trade opportunities opening up in Cuba.

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s leading weekly editorially independent publication, Caribbean Insight, which provides in depth information on current economic, political and commercial developments in the Caribbean and news on events in Europe and the US that affect the region. Business people, academics, and those with a general interest in the Caribbean find it an invaluable tool for developing and maintaining knowledge and providing an insight into political, economic and commercial events in the region.

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