Dominican Republic wants to work more closely with SA in future

Time of article published Aug 7, 2020

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HECTOR GALVAN

Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to South Africa

Elections in the Dominican Republic are a benchmark for countries in the region that have had to delay their electoral processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 5, 2020, Luis Abinader was the democratically elected president with 52% of the votes. I must thank President Cyril Ramaphosa's congratulatory letter to the President-elect, where he highlights bilateral cordial relations as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the expression of his commitment and desire to further strengthen plus our bilateral relations and consolidate the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between our countries.

The government program of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) that was successful, under the slogan of promoting change, highlights the interest in deepening trade, political and cooperation relations with the African region, and with South Africa in particular. This new management recognizes the importance and potential of the market for the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA), which involves 55 countries and constitutes the largest group of countries in the world with more than 1.2 billion people.

During the new government led by President Abinader, the Dominican Republic intends to increase trade and investment with South Africa, and in particular in the mining industry. It is about establishing commercial relations in the areas where both nations have comparative advantages. The Dominican free zone sector, for example, is considered one of the sectors that offers many attractions due to the incentive system for investment and business.

The Dominican Republic can be a logistics centre for South African investments in the Caribbean and Central America region. We have become a HUB for the reception and handling of cargo, to a Regional Logistics Centre, for greater transhipment, storage, reclassification, assembly and connection with air and land transport.

It is the country with the best connectivity in the region. It has 73 international destinations. It has nine international airports. 2 cruise ports. 12 commercial ports. It is close to an hour and a half to the United States (Miami) and 40 minutes to Puerto Rico. Close to Cuba and the Caribbean islands, like Jamaica and others.

As Dr. Annette Griessel, representative of the South African Presidency at the Dominican Republic's act of independence, said earlier this year, the Dominican Republic remains an attractive trading partner for South Africa in the Caribbean as a result of its advanced economy and open, its export processing zones, strong infrastructure and relatively low fiscal environment.

Exports from the Dominican Republic will reach $ 11,219 million in 2019, exporting more than 1,789 products to 131 countries, many of which come from free zones, which have more than 300 world-renowned brands such as; Aldo, Clarks, Tiffany & Co, Timberland, Lexus, Hanes, Baxter, Cardinal Health, Medtronic, Tory Burch, among others. But only 25.2 million were exported to South Africa in 2018 and South Africa exported some 16 million to the Dominican Republic.

It is important to take advantage of the free trade agreements that the Dominican Republic with Central American countries, the United States; as well as the partial scope agreement with Panama; with Caribbean countries Caricom, and the EPA agreement, with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and the European Union.

There is a potential for the development of e-commerce, and the migration to online business; Encouraging application development and technical support and digital communication.

The health crisis offers growth opportunities in post-coronavirus “winning” sectors, such as medical equipment and personal protection elements (PPE).

The crisis forces global supply chains, replaces the need for proximity to large markets and generation opportunities for the establishment of new regional distribution centres.

Different economists recognize the need for international coordination to lessen the economic effects of the pandemic and avoid an increase in poverty and inequality.

On July 1, the Dominican Republic reopened the tourism sector; We are one of the main vacation spots for the countries of the European continent, North America, the US, Canada and also the countries of South America. This is because the island has a rich history and unique culture, in addition to its welcoming and friendly population.

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