Dominican President Says The Country Can Rely On Loans

Leonel Fernandez Pld V102To face crisis

BREAKING NEWS: The Dominican Republic will receive an estimated $1.8 billion in loans from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and others to pay for projects related to education, health and energy, President Leonel Fernandez announced Friday in his annual Independence Day address to Congress.

The government also expects to save $1.9 billion this year as a result of falling food, fuel and commodity prices. However, Fernandez warned that the country would not be immune from the global crisis. “The Dominican Republic has been affected by the accumulation of adversities and calamities that extend across the planet as if it were a modern version of the Seven Plagues of Egypt, he said.

Fernandez said the country entered 2009 with a strong economy after small increases in remittances and tourist arrivals. GDP grew 5.3 percent last year, slightly higher than the average for Latin America, he added. Remittances reached $3.1 billion, a 2.1 percent growth from 2007, while the number of tourist arrivals –nearly 4 million– grew 7 percent and generated $4.2 billion in revenue.

Fernandez also asked legislators, in a 12,700-word speech, to accept the results of a two-year constitutional revision project that includes changes to strengthen border security, protect the environment and alter the military’s constitutional status.

The reform would guarantee that under no circumstance the Dominican Republic will return to the dark days of dictatorship, abuse, trampling and arrogance of power, he said. The country has had 31 constitutions in its history. The latest came in 2002, allowing presidents to serve more than one term.

Dominican Today02.03.09

Leonel wants to sign agreements with Cuba

Leonel Fernandez Cuba V01He’s interested in education programs

BREAKING NEWS: The President Leonel Fernández expressed when arriving to the Habana, Cuba, the interest of the Dominican government to arrive to several agreements of educational exchanges with this nation.

The President said that one of the reasons of his visit to the country was the wish to sign conventions of academical trainings that will beneficiate the teachers.

During an interview with the Cuban and international press, Leonel explained that two countries maintain excellent diplomatic relations.

The Dominican president will meet today Raúl Castro in the Revolution Palace.
Fernández will participate to the 11th Gathering of International Economists: Globalization and Problems of Development, during official visit of five days.

Dominican Republic Live03.03.09

Ecuadorian Tour-Operator announces seven additional flights

Kemtours Rd V01Towards Dominican Republic

BEAKING NEWS : Bogotá, Colombia.-Kemtours, the main tour-operator of Equator towards the Dominican Republic announced the addition of seven flights from Quito and other cities of the country, that would be a total of 11 flights per week.

Mario J.Cifuentes, president of the Ecuadorian tour-operator explained that thanks to these operations which concern destinations as Santo Domingo, La Romana and Punta Cana, more than 12000 passengers would visit DR in 2009.

He said that others destinations as Samaná and Puerto Plata would be added in order to diversify the tourist offer.

Cifuentes make this announcement to the representative of the Touristic Promotion Office of Dominican Republic in Colombia, Rene Contreras, who was accompanied by the Director of Tourism for Chile, Carmen Rodríguez, and the Director of Venezuela and Supervisor of South America, Miguelina Ruiz, as well as the main representatives of hotels, tour-operators, and trip agencies of Dominican Republic.

The meeting took place within the framework of the 23rd International Tourism Fair, organized by the Colombian Association of the Trips and Tourism (ANATO) in Bogotá, capital of Colombia.

Cifuentes explained that 3 of the new flights would operate since April and 4 others the June 12th, 2009.

Dominican Republic Live04.03.09

The Reserve Bank lowers interest rates to 15%-17%

Banco Central V006To stimulate growth in productive sectors

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The Reserve Bank (Banco de Reservas de la Republica Dominicana) set a prime rate for the farm sector, manufacturing industries, construction, and micro, small and medium businesses of between 15% and 17%.

The information was offered by Daniel Toribio, the administrator of the bank, during a press conference together with the governor of the Central Bank Hector Valdez Albizu, who pointed out that the measure represents in some cases a reduction of as much as 5%.

According to Toribio, all the mortgage loans approved during this month for an amount of up to RD $12 million and for 20 years for new houses or apartments, will get a special 15% rate which will be fixed until the end of the year.

He said that beginning this year, the interest rate will be proportional to be behavior the market rate, which is to say, it will be reviewed either up or down.

According to Daniel Toribio, this measure was adopted with the spirit of stimulating growth in the productive sectors of the nation and at the same time be in consonance with the intentions of the monetary authorities and push the growth of our economy.

Toribio reported that the measure of the Reserve Bank was taken in regard of the resolution of the Monetary Board that reduced from 7% to 6% the rates on overnight deposits of commercial deposits.

The first resolution emitted on 12 February of this year, establishes that the resources that the bank designated for use in the productive sectors reach RD $7.0 billion, will be considered as part of the legal reserve of the banks.

Valdez Albizu announced that beginning Thursday (today), earnings on the legal reserve will be transferred to the commercial banks so that they can reduce the interest rates on the outstanding loans.

He said that the measure announced by the administrator of the Reserve Bank will contribute to the business climate and assist the development of economic activity in the country.

Toribio said that the mortgage policy will see six month reviews of interest rates where the rates will be modify in accordance to the behavior of the market rates.

At the June to December rate, there was an increase of six percentage points, and this was for all the mortgage clients of the bank, but it was decided not to collect this, which indicates that there was a 6% reduction in the rates.

Diario Libre05.03.09

Dominican Republic among the world’s radio, TV leaders

According to INDOTEL

BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic is one of the countries which proportionately has the most radio and television stations in the world, said Dominican Telecomm Institute (Indotel) president Jose Rafael Vargas, including 98 cable TV companies, 44 VHF and UHF TV channels, and 391 A.M. and FM radio stations.

The official, speaking during the launch of digital television and radio projects, said Dominican Republic has 126 A.M., 247 FM, and 20 short wave stations.

There are 98 cable companies, for which there’s no a municipality in the country where there’s no cable; 44 VHF and UHF television channels; eight broadcasting channels and 31 extreme frequency channels, Vargas said in the conference From the digital gap to opportunity in Dominican Republic, hosted by Virtual Educa Caribe 2009.

Dominican Today09.03.09

Leonel and Preval to meet on 24 March

Leonel Fernandez Pld V103To discuss bilateral issues

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- President Leonel Fernandez and his Haitian counterpart, René Preval, will meet next Tuesday 24 March, in the frontier provincial capital of Comendador the provincial seat of Elias Pina.

There, they will discuss bi-lateral issues, among which are the re-opening of poultry and egg merchandizing from the Dominican Republic, halted in 2007 due to bird fever in some local chicken farms.

The information was offered by the Minister of AgricultureSalvador-Chio-Jimenez, who said that at the meeting of the two chief executives, they will talk about education, agriculture and animal husbandry, issues that have to be talked about.

The official said that he recently received a commission of Haitian officials to whom he reported that in the country (Dominican Republic) there are no bird diseases, least of all bird flu.
We now have the studies. At no time, fortunately, have we had any pathological presence at any commercial poultry operation, which is to say that they have understood, and have appreciated all the studies that we did, he said.

Jimenez also explained that a little more than a month ago, two, high level technicians from the OIE, the organization that governs everything related to animal health, at the world level, made very favorable and positive evaluations.

Jimenez said that Even better, they were feeling happy, because they realized that we have first class poultry production, and each day we continue making it stronger.

Diario Libre10.03.09

Taiwan and Dominican Republic

Francisco Ou V001To talk Free Trade

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez yesterday received Taiwan’s Foreign Relations minister Francisco Ou, to speak on topics of interest for both countries, especially the possibility of reaching a Free Trade Agreement.

Fernandez and Ou spoke for almost one hour.

Dominican Foreign Relations minister Carlos Morales accompanied the diplomat, as well as Taiwan’s ambassador Isaac Tsai and other officials of that nation..

The Taipei government said it’s interested in resuming talks to sign a Free Trade Agreement.

Dominican Today11.03.09

It’s official, « Dominican Republic has it all »

Francisco Javier Garcia V012New Tourism offices in Europe and in United States

BREAKING NEWS: BERLIN. – Dominican Republic has it all is the slogan for the Tourism Ministry’s ad campaign unveiled yesterday to the German, Dominican and international press attending the word’s biggest fair, the ITB.

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia also announced the incorporation of Dominican embassies and consulates to promote the country as a tourist destination, with the creation of a tourism attaché for that purpose.

He also announced the opening of new Tourism offices in Moscow, Stockholm and Prague and six new ones in the United States this year.

Accompanied by Dominican ambassador in Germany, Pedro Begés, Dominican Hotels and Restaurants Association President Haydee Kuret, and Germany Tourism Office director Petra Cruz, the official said Dominican tourism has everything for everybody.

He noted that Dominican Republic is among the countries with the most protected areas, which respects the environment and has created closeness between visitors and communities to get together.

Dominican Today13.03.09

Dominican Government signs pacts for boutique hotels

Franciso Javier Garcia Berlin 2009 V01And for promotion in Europe

BREAKING NEWS: BERLIN. – The Dominican Government signed two agreements, one with an European company that’ll build eight boutique hotels in Cofresí Bay, Puerto Plata (north) at a cost of US $200 million, and the other with the carrier Air France to promote the country in 15 European nations.

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia made the announcement in a press conference in Berlin’s Marriot hotel, where he attends the ITB tourism fair 2009.
The company Marketing Beratung International (MBI) will build the hotels in Puerto Plata, in coordination with the chain Hacienda Resorts.

MBI general manager Alexander Schaufler said the project called Costa Esmeralda Peninsula will feature eight, 160 room boutique hotels in a first stage and 200 apartments after that.

The Tourism Minister said the project marks the Government’s effort to take attract an upper end tourism to the country’s North zone, and the Puerto Plata tourism region.

This it is the type of tourism we want in Puerto Plata, aside from that additional investment, more tourists will come from Vienna.

The official said the MBI executives will travel to Dominican Republic in mid April for the groundbreaking and immediately begin the works, for the first stage to be ready by yearend 2010.

Agreement with Air France

Garcia said the agreement with Air France is the only accord that carrier has ever signed with a Tourism ministry, and pledges to promote Dominican Republic in 15 European destinations where it frequently flies.

Upon signing the agreement, Air France executive Veronique Moulin said she was pleased by the Dominican Government’s interest in the pact she said has been under discussion for several years.

In that regard, Garcia said it’s a new step in the country’s promotion in the European market, source of many visitors to his country.

Dominican Today16.03.09

Arlenis Sosa: cover of Time Style

New face of Lancome cosmetics this year

BREAKING NEWS : A 19-year old Dominican model, Monte Cristi-born Arlenis Sosa is on the cover of Time magazine’s April 2009 Style & Design supplement.

Arlenis, a new discovery by the fashion industry in 2008, has taken the fashion world by storm.

She has been described as the new face of fashion by Time Magazine and has posed for Vogue USA and Italy, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other leading publications.

And she has modeled in several major shows for Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria’s Secret, Donna Karan and Carolina Herrera, among many others.

She is also the spokesmodel , or new face of Lancome cosmetics this year, and her face is what’s new at Macy’s flagship in NYC.

She was discovered by fashion designer Luis Menieur when she was in Santo Domingo to look into studying communications at a Santo Domingo university.

She would be a contestant in the 2006 Elite Model Look in Santo Domingo, but Menieur thought she could be a world class model and made it happen.

TIME Style & Design is a glossy, stand-alone supplement to Time Magazine published six times a year.

Each issue takes an in-depth look at the influential worlds of style and design and how fashion, architecture and product design influence the way people work, live, travel, shop and build our environment.

DR117.03.09

« For the country to fail the world would have to fail first,  » Fernandez says

Leonel Fernandez Pld V104The challenge is to maintain economic growth

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernandez yesterday said in the context of the global financial crisis, even in the worse case scenario, for the country to fail the world would have to fail first.

The chief executive said Dominican Republic’s challenge is to maintain economic growth with low inflation, and stability in the exchange rate and external accounts, and affirmed that the Government doesn’t plan to raise taxes.

He said it’s somewhat surprising that in last year’s fourth quarter, inflation was 4.5% from a projected 12%.

On the 2009 projections Fernandez said the Central Bank projects a growth of three percent, compared with that of The Economist, which places it at a more moderate 1.0%.

Fernandez spoke on the topic Vision and priorities for the next five years, in the Table of Businesses in the Dominican Republic, responding to the economic crisis global, organized by the The Economist Group, with the attendance of business leaders, specialists in international business and Government officials.

Dominican Today19.03.09

Dominican Constitution to get 38th reform in 165 years

Senado Santo Domingo V004Different opinions on the Magna Charta

BREAKING NEWS: Tomorrow Tuesday and with great expectations begins the Dominican Constitution’s 38th reform since it was drafted November 6, 1844.

The National Assembly, in its function of Reviewer, will begin the works that’ll culminate with a new Constitution, with the debate on the regulation to be used in the votes.

Senators and deputies turned into assembly members will go to the Assembly Hall at 3 p.m., to start the debates on the constitutional reform bill, submitted by president Leonel Fernandez on September 19.

Prior to the introducing the initiatives, the Executive Branch conducted a long consultation process on the different sectors’ opinions on the Magna Charta the country should have.

Fernandez signed the bill into law on February 27, prior to his State of the Republic speech before Congress.

Dominican Today, 23.03.09

Dominican Government submits 3 bills

Senado Santo Domingo V005To reduce taxes

BREAKING NEWS: The government submitted to the Senate Tuesday three bills to reduce taxes: the first is to deduct all education expenses from income taxes if the students are nonworking minors; the second to lower from 5 percent to 0.5 percent the advance payment companies pay, and the third is to renegotiate mortgage loans with other banks without additional fees.

Hacienda minister Vicente BengoaInternal Taxes director Juan Hernandez, and the Presidency’s Legal advisor Abel Rodriguez del Orbe handed the bills to Senate president Reinaldo Pared, who said Congress will give them priority because they benefit the population.

Bengoa said the bills were the result of the dialogues held in the recent national summit and that measures are being adopted that merit Congressional approval.

He said the proposed legislation means a sacrifice of revenues for the government, which it will assume given the international recession and the country’s economic slowdown.

The official added that the measures give companies more liquidity and less need to dismiss more workers.

Dominican Today25.03.09

The European Parliament ratifies the Economic Partnership Agreement

Mains Et MappemondeExports of the Caribbean will have a direct access to the Community market

BREAKING NEWS: The European Parliament approved the Economic Partnership Agreement; economical association subscribed by the European Union in last October with fourteen countries of the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic.

The European Parliament (EP) gave its approval yesterday, with 460 votes in favor, 82 against and 43 abstentions, to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) subscribed by the EU in last October with fourteen countries of the Caribbean and to the provisional agreement with the Ivory Coast.

The first convention relates to the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Belize, the Dominique, Grenade, Guyana, Haiti (which has till 2010 to join the agreement), Jamaica, Sainte Lucie, San Vincent and Grenadines, San Cristóbal and Nieves, Surinam, and Trinity and Tobago.

After a negotiation which lasted three years, the two parts decided that exports of the Caribbean would have direct access to the Community market, while the markets of the Caribbean would be gradually opened to the European products during 25 years.

The block of Carifórum is the first with which the European Union signed a final agreement among the six groups of the countries of Africa, of the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) with which it supports negotiations.

The EU was obliged to revise its commercial relation with these countries after the World Trade Organization (WTO) will point out the illegality of the agreement of Cotonou – which gave a preferential treatment to these countries and allowed the entry to the European market of much of their products under special conditions.

Dominican Republic Live26.03.09

The Dominican Republic celebrates the support of the European Parliament for the agreement with the Caribbean

Federico Cuello V002Important for the development

BREAKING NEWS: Brussels, (EFE). – The ambassador for the Dominican Republic in Brussels, Federico Cuello, underlined today the satisfaction of the country concerning the support of the European Parliament for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) subscribed in last October between the European Union and 14 country of the Caribbean.

Cuello declared that it was very positive and that the vote of the European Chamber which this week in Strasbourg gave the approval to this agreement was a reason for joy.

The European Parliament held this week a convention with the 14 country of the Caribbean and also signed a provisional agreement with the Ivory Coast; all these nations belonging to the group of the ACP states (gathering Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and to which the European Union grants some trade preferences.

With regard to the new agreement, Cuello underlined that it was important for the development of the states of the Caribbean and which it had high social contents .

The agreement of the European Union with the Caribbean, he added, supposes advantages that wished already others countries; which in this moment are also negotiating economical agreements with Brussels.

Dominican Republic Live, 27.03.09

Leonel begins popular dialogues

Leonel Fernandez Pld V105He called upon the population to have faith in the future

BREAKING NEWS : After seeing intense protests in different towns around the country in demand of street repairs and the construction of public works, President Leonel Fernandez went to San Pedro de Macoris to initiate a series of « popular dialogues » with representatives of the most important sectors.

With these exchanges, the government leader will try and listen to the demands of the people and propose solutions.

As the outcome of the first conversation, he ordered RD $36 million for the National Institute of Potable Water and Sewers (Inapa) to construct a network of pipelines in the barrios of San Pedro that do not receive drinking water, and announced the pavement of the streets.

He also ordered the State Sugar Council (CEA) to work out a program to create more jobs at the Quisqueya and Consuelo sugar mills.

He called upon the population to have faith in the future, after indicating that for the country to fail, first the world has to fail.

Diario Libre30.03.09

Endangered turtles no longer being souvenired in Dominican Republic

Carey V002A powerful government campaign

BREAKING NEWS: Critically endangered hawksbill turtles are no longer being sold as tourist souvenirs in the Dominican Republic after a powerful government campaign cracked down on shops illegally trading such items.

More than 99 percent of these souvenirs have been withdrawn or confiscated the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC reports. A 2006 survey carried out by the network found more than 23,000 items made from hawksbill turtles for sale. A February revisit of the same locations revealed a dramatic reduction with only 135 shell items.

The success has been achieved thanks to a widespread government-led action launched in November 2008. The country has encouraged the trade of alternative products such as cow horn or bone to present an alternative to shops trading with these turtles.

We warmly congratulate the Government of the Dominican Republic on their decisive action that has virtually eliminated the blatant illegal souvenir trade in hawksbill turtle shells, said Adrian Reuter, TRAFFIC’s Representative in Mexico.

Dominican Today31.03.09

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