DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce luncheon Industry and Commerce Minister Manuel Garcia Arevalo said that the free trade agreement between the United States, Central America, and the Dominican Republic has led the DR to be the third largest exporter and the second in total trade volume among signatories. Trade volume with the US alone totaled more than US$11.5 billion in 2011, and foreign investment of US$14.7 billion (from 2006-2010).
Dominican exports from 2010 at US$3.68 million increased to US$4.19 billion, for a 13.8% increase. In his presentation on the past five years of DR CAFTA he said that 4,700 manufacturing companies in the DR reported exports. He said this is 13% of all companies registered with the social security for employees. He said of these, small and medium-sized business exported US400 million. And of these, 25% exported to the US and other countries. He said that 62% of companies with more than 200 employees also exported. He said this is proof that Dominican businesspeople are aware that under the new scheme of open markets, "we need to be creative and competitive" to export.
He mentioned that cigar exports have increased by 7.5% a year on average, medical instruments 8.1%, jewelry 3.8% and footwear 14.7%. He said that the DR has moved from being an exporter of apparel to an exporter of textiles to Haiti for assembly into clothing for export.
Garcia Arevalo said that 78% of the trade deficit with the United States is made up of five items n petroleum, machinery, vehicles, cereals and plastic parts, none of which are produced locally.
He commented that the treaty has had a positive effect on implementation of reforms based on transparency.
Speaking at the event, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce Julio Virgilio Brache said that the DR-CAFTA needed to be seen as an opportunity and not an obstacle to national development.