FEBRUARY 2011

Leonel Fernández Met Executives of EximbankFEBRUARY 2011

They discussed the possibilities of financing several productive areas of the country

BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez met on Monday with executives, technicians and business leaders of India’s Export-Import Bank (Eximbank), to discuss the possibilities of financing several of his country’s productive areas.

Fernandez also announced that a commission of India business leaders and technicians will visit his country in the coming days to learn up close Dominican Republic’s facilities, advantages and potential for foreign investment.

In the meeting held in the Eximbank offices, the chief executive touted the quality of the Dominican manufacturing sector as world class, which in his view allows it to compete with the high standards the markets demand. He noted the technology on information, software applications, infrastructure, the film industry and technology for the area of health.

He told the executives, who included India Eximbank president T.C.A. Ranganathan, and its executive director N. Shankar, of Dominican Republic’s development process and cited the economy’s sustained growth despite the world crisis, even surpassing the 7.5% average of the region’s other economies.

Fernández will continue his work agenda today, visiting the city Bangalore, accompanied by several Dominican business leaders and government officials.

Dominican Republic Live, 01.02.11

Emirates Airlines Want to Increase their Investment in the Country

Their airplanes could fly to Dominican Republic soon

BREAKING NEWS: The United Arab Emirates, which owns one of the world’s major airlines, want their airplanes to fly to Dominican Republic to boost their presence in Latin America, and have officially stated as much to the Dominican Government.

UAE Civil Aviation director Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi and Dominican par Jose Tomas Perez, in an official visit to Dubai, reviewed the 2009 open sky agreement signed by both countries in Turkey, which would allow Emirates Airlines, a carrier whose more than 190 modern airplanes fly to 120 countries, Brazil among them, and the only destination in Latin America, can also use Dominican Republic as a new point of operations.

The agreement, pending approval in the Dominican Congress, is one of several between both countries since president Leonel Fernandez’s official visit to Dubai last year.

In fact Dubai companies are already the major stakeholders in the Caucedo Port, Dominican Republic’s biggest container handler, and the Emirates have also stated an interest in power plants.

Dominican Republic Live, 02.02.11.

Leonel Fernández Aims to Convert his Country into a “Green Economy”FEBRUARY 2011

He talked during the Sustainable Development Summit in Indian capital

BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernández aims to convert his country into a “green economy” with “green growth” as the way to the future, and urged each country to assume their responsibility to revert the effects of climate change.

Fernández spoke before several hundred people in the Sustainable Development Summit inaugurated today in the Indian capital, where India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered the inaugural speech, with the president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, and the president of the Seychelles, James Michel attending.

The Dominican President, on an ficial visit to India, affirmed announced the signature of an agreement with Germany to make with Dominican universities models for development to convert his country into a “green economy”.

“The fossils go from the Industrial Revolution to the present moment. In the 21st century, clean energies, green economy”, the Dominican leader said, adding that “having an action plan for a green economy project is fundamental, because all humanity will have to head towards a sustainable development model”.

Fernández landed in India on Sunday and after hosting academic and business meetings in the economic centers of Bombay’s (west) and Bangalore (south), begins the official part of his visit to the Asian country today.

After the Summit, Fernández met with the head of its organizers Rajendra Pachauri, and with the Secretary General of the ruling Party of Congress, Rahul Gandhi.

Quoted by Efe, the Head of State said his trip to the Asian country aims to promote investment and trade, with particular attention to information technologies and communication industries, and academia.

Though trade with Dominican Republic is still a trickle: totaling only US $306.5 million in the last five years, Fernández has stated that India investors can take advantage of his country as an operational base as “a door of easy access” to American and European markets.

“Since we have a free trade agreement with the United States, products made in Dominican Republic can access the USA market in preferential conditions. From India this couldn’t be done”.

“Dominican Republic can guarantee access, mainly to the East coast of the USA, and that’s a market extraordinary”, he said and cited Dominican tobacco exports as another routes to develop trade. “We would gain visibility and with that, tourism”.

He also urged India investors to take advantage of the Spanish language to develop and translate Indian software. “The Spanish language becomes a financial asset which combined with its geographic location become a potential for Dominican Republic’s development”.

Fernández will end aim his visit to India on Friday with a speech before representatives of the diplomatic community in the Indian World Affairs Council.

Dominican Republic Live, 03.02.11

Leonel Fernández Expects Positive Results From his Visit to IndiaFEBRUARY 2011

He promoted his country as a business alternative in Latin America

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernandez today said he expects positive results in business and trade relations for both nations from the first official visit of a Dominican Head of State to India.

Speaking in the hotel Leela Palace Kempinski to representatives from 250 micro, small and medium companies to hear him promote his country as a business alternative in Latin America, the chief executive stressed what he views are Dominican Republic’s good investment climate and legal security.

The National Small Industries Corporation also participated in the event organized by the Micro, Small and Medium Industries Federation, as well as government representatives.

Fernández, calling the visit to Indian companies historical, especially those that look at the international markets, urged them to start looking toward Latin America, adding that Dominican Republic wants to become India’s best entrance to that region, Europe and the United States.

Dominican Republic Live, 04.02.11

The Environment Ministry Celebrated the World Wetlands Day

Wetlands in Dominican RepublicIn Aurelio Lagoon, Haina

BREAKING NEWS: The Environment Ministry celebrated the World Wetlands Day in Aurelio Lagoon, Haina (south), where their importance was stressed as the origin of biological diversity and maintain a natural balance.

Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal was joined by lawmakers, business leaders, educators and personalities of the zone to discuss the topic “Wetlands and Forests” as part of the International Year of the Forests.

Haina mayor Marino Lora thanked the authorities for recovering the lagoon and affirmed that it will become the entire area’s “green lung” from now on

According to the Ramsar Convention, Wetlands are among the world’s most productive environments and the origin of biological diversity, required for the subsistence of countless vegetable and animal species.

Though the Caribbean’s coastal wetlands are among the world’s most productive ecosystems and cover only 6.4% of the planet’s surface, they account for 24% of the productivity.

Dominican Republic Live, 07.02.11

European Union Disbursed 25 Million Euros to Support Dominican BudgetFEBRUARY 2011

Irene Horejs and Domingo Jiménez signed the agreement

BREAKING NEWS: The European Union disbursed 25 million Euros on Monday to support Dominican Republic’s budget on social programs, announced European Development Funds National coordinator Domingo Jiménez.

He said the Government will use the funds in those areas of development which lead to lowering and eradicating poverty.

Jiménez signed the agreement with the head of the European Union delegation in the country, Irene Horejs, to disburse the resources under the modality adopted to support the development programs which the EU conducts with the governments in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

In a statement, Jimenez and Horejs also stressed that the funds are subjected to the existence of a development strategy, which in Dominican Republic’s case will be introduced in the Congress by president Leonel Fernández on February 27, during the annual State of the Republic Speech before the National Assembly.

Dominican Republic Live, 08.02.11.

Dominican Republic is an “Important Trade Partner” for FloridaFEBRUARY 2011

According to Rick Scott, state’s new governor

BREAKING NEWS: Florida’s new governor on Tuesday called Dominican Republic an important trade partner for which his Office will start a series of contacts to expand those even more.

Rick Scott stated his Administration’s “great interest” in actively promoting an international trade policy and will bolster the friendship and business relations with the country, through the economic sector officials and Jose Zaiter, representative of the Dominicans Abroad Consultative Council (Condex).

He said he values Dominican Republic’s importance as an economic and trade partner for Florida during decades, which may lead improved climate for business

In that regard Záiter said the Dominican Government considers trade with Florida reciprocal and will continue to pursue each of the initiatives to expand commercial relations still more with that state and the U.S. as a whole.

Scott and Záiter spoke during the quarterly gathering of Enterprise Florida, held in the state capital Tallahassee.

Dominican Republic Live, 09.02.11

Dominican Republic Seeks to Improve Trade Facilitation and LogisticsFEBRUARY 2011

The National Competitiveness Council has begun to implement a strategy

BREAKING NEWS : The National Competitiveness Council (CNC) has begun to implement a strategy to improve trade facilitation and logistics in the DR in several areas, including customization, transport, and import and export time spans.

The project, which is supported by the European Union and the World Bank, will focus on the refrigeration chain, infrastructure, road and airport security, ground, maritime and air transport, said Andres Vanderthost Alvarez for CNC and World Bank representative Roby Senderowitch, during the signing of the agreement.

Vanderhorst said that with the implementation of free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States and Central America, imports have grown significantly, which showed that the DR needed to take better advantage of its geographical location.

The European Union is contributing 80% of the US $1 million cost to develop the country’s market strategy and the World Bank will fund the difference.

Francois Clottes, head of the World Bank for the Caribbean also signed the cooperation agreement. She stated that an improvement in competitiveness would lead to better quality and greater opportunities for exporting Dominican products.

Dominican Republic Live, 10.02.11

Spain and the Inter-American Development Bank will finance Projects in Dominican Republic

Water in Dominican RepublicIn order to improve water treatment and supplies

BREAKING NEWS : Spain and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will provide US $97 million to finance projects to develop water treatment and supplies in the Dominican Republic, said the Spanish International Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID) in Santo Domingo Thursday.

The five projects “will allow more and more Dominicans access to conditions of basic water service and enjoy an asset which constitutes a human right”, affirmed Spanish ambassador in the Dominican Republic, Diego Bermejo, during the presentation of the initiatives.

Most of the funds (US $70 million) will be allocated to a multilateral decentralization program of services and improve access to water and treatment in seven of the country’s 32 provinces. Of that total, the Potable Water Cooperation and Cleanup Fund (FCAS), the Spanish Government donates 35 million dollars and the IDB an equal amount.

The remaining sum is for a Haiti – Dominican Republic cross-border Project, with a FCAS donation of seven million dollars and another seven from the BID, while the aqueducts agency (INAPA) will carry out other initiatives with 12.4 million dollars.

Dominican Republic Live, 11.02.11

The International Monetary Fund is Optimistic With the Performance of the Dominican Economy

Dominique Strauss-KahnA mission is analyzing the fifth review of the “Stand By” agreement

BREAKING NEWS : The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will wind up tomorrow the fifth review of the “Stand By” agreement, whose letter of intention will have to be endorsed by the Directors of the agency and which will permit the Dominican government to access some US $150 million.

The agreement was signed in November 2009 for a total of US $1.7 billion.

Finishing up the process, the IMF will publish a document where it will establish whether or not the authorities have complied or not with the goals established in the agreement and if they are in the affirmative, the government should present a letter of intention to the IMF Board for its approval.

Last week, the IMF representative in the country, Alejandro Santos, met with the Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Temistocles Montas, to analyze part of the agreement. At the end of the meeting, Santos said that he felt optimistic with the performance of the Dominican economy and he said that he is hoping for a growth rate of between 5.5% and 6% for 2011.

He reminded reporters that in the middle of 2009 the economy was going through a complicated situation and the agreement was signed in the last quarter. The approval of the Stand By agreement by the Directors of the IMF allowed “a high level of IMF, World Bank and IDB financing which gave more coherence to the state policies”.

At the same time, Montas assured his audience that the authorities have fulfilled with what was established and that the IMF has made some suggestions which will be analyzed to see how they can be fulfilled.

For several days an IMF mission has been in the Dominican Republic analyzing the economic and fiscal performance, as established by the “Stand By” agreements.
Besides Montas, the IMF executives have met with the governor of the Central Bank, Hector Valdez Albizu, the director general of Customs, Rafael Camilo, and other officials in the national economic area.

It will be remembered that the country has gone through four reviews in the current program and eight reviews previous to this agreement, which Temistocles Montas interpreted as a signal that there is a willingness within the government to do things right. After the previous revision, the country receives around US $168 million.

Dominican Republic Live, 14.02.11

Environment Ministry inaugurates “Lovers’ Forest” in Cachón de la Rubia springsFEBRUARY 2011

To mark Valentine’s Day and the International Year of Forests

BREAKING NEWS : Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal together with dozens of couples inaugurated the Lovers’ Forest in the Cachón de la Rubia springs, to mark the International Year of Forests.

Also inaugurated to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day was the Lovers’ Bridge along the Ozama River’s eastern banks.

“Today we planted jagua trees in this beautiful scenery because the popular belief says that he who dreams about jagua is fortunate, and much happiness waits them”, the official said.

Dominican Republic Live, 15.02.11

East-West Optical fiber Cable Will Link Dominican Republic with Jamaica and the Virgin IslandsFEBRUARY 2011

The construction works began at the start of December

BREAKING NEWS : The company CWC Cable & Wireless Communications Dominican Republic, branch C & W the Caribbean/LIME unveiled the project East-West optical fiber cable that will link Dominican Republic with Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.

CWC Caribbean/LIME Vice-president for Customer Operations Katherine Hernandez said the initiative to bring the cable is part of a plan to meet the demand to increase Internet speed and penetration rate.

“This project shows the commitment assumed by CWC with Dominican Republic’s socio-economic development, aimed at becoming suitable partner in projects to reduce digital gap, promote the incorporation of technology of knowledge in education, stimulate the local economy and to generate abilities and skills in information technologies”, the executive said in a meeting held in the Santo Domingo West City Council.

The construction work on a submerged cable began at the start of December at a cost of US $35M, and seeks to establish a system of the latest generation for the transmission of international telecommunications between Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands.

The system, called the East-West Cable, is an ambitious project and includes the installation and a submerged optical fiber cable and equipment located in transmission terminals in the three countries.

Dominican Republic Live, 16.02.11

AES Dominicana Affirms Natural Gas is the Future of Electricity SectorFEBRUARY 2011

The decrease of generation costs would enable to use renewable energies

BREAKING NEWS : AES Dominicana energy group president Marco De la Rosa affirmed Tuesday that the “main mandate” in the electricity sector’s investments should be to lower the cost of primary energy, by resorting to natural gas and coal.

The executive said once the electrical system becomes based on those two fuels, and subsequent lower generation costs, “renewable energies can be added to that base, such as wind and solar for example”.

De la Rosa, who took part in a panel on the diversification of the energy matrix, said the governments subsidize solar energy in the countries which develop that generation. “And what we want here, in fact, is to reduce the subsidies”.

Dominican Republic Live, 17.02.11

Haiti Became the Most Important Trade Partner of the Dominican RepublicFEBRUARY 2011

Exports topped US $ 462.0 million in 2010

BREAKING NEWS : Customs director Rafael Camilo revealed Thursday that Dominican exports to Haiti last year topped US $ 462.0 million, which makes it Dominican Republic’s most important trade partner, over Puerto Rico and the United States.

He said wheat flour, soy bean oil, rice, natural water, crackers, pasta, bananas and chicken parts are some of the products most sold to Haiti. Camilo, speaking during the ribbon cutting for the new Customs and Immigration offices in Dajabón (northwest), said construction products such as cement, rebar, tin roofing and stainless steel cables are another important line pf trade between the two nations.

The facilities were built at a cost RD $37 million for Customs (25 million in infrastructure and 12 million in equipment), and the European Union provided RD $35.6 million.

“These new offices serve to expedite and make more transparent the trade on the border zones of both nations, separated by the Masacre river”, Camilo said. The Customs chief said Dajabón is the second most important shipment port for the formal trade with our neighbors and that US $143.9 million were collected last year from exports, or 17.9 percent of the border region’s economic movement.

He added that U $227.6 million worth of products were exported to Haiti in 2009, compared with the U $462.2 million in 2010, a jump of 103.1 percent.

Dominican Republic Live, 18.02.11

Dominican Republic will use U.S. Services to Build Coral HighwayFEBRUARY 2011

The road will link Santo Domingo to the country main tourism poles

BREAKING NEWS : The Dominican Republic (DR) will use U.S. equipment and services to build a 44-mile road linking Santo Domingo to the country’s major eastern cities, promoting tourism to several resorts, backed by a $34.5 million loan guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

Odebrecht Global Sourcing Inc., Miami, Fla., will export goods and services from small and large U.S. suppliers to Autopista del Coral S.A. (a company wholly-owned by Construtora Norberto Odebrecht in DR).

Autopista is responsible for all construction, installation, integration and training services related to the project. The DR Ministry of Finance, the borrower, provided its full faith and credit to obtain the export credit, and is responsible for repayment of the financing to the guaranteed lender, BNP Paribas.

“This financing will contribute to the Dominican Republic’s infrastructure expansion and economic growth, while supporting American jobs”, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “The transaction will also likely lead to follow-on business for U.S. exporters with Odebrecht in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa”.

“The Ex-Im Bank guarantee coupled with BNP’s financing allows Odebrecht to tap into a new funding source, which is particularly important in times when the commercial market has contracted”, said Vinicio Fonseca, Odebrecht director of Export Finance. “The Autopista del Coral Project is Odebrecht’s pioneer project for U.S. Ex-Im Bank support”.

Juvenalito Gusmao Jr., Odebrecht project director for the Autopista del Coral Project, said, “Given the fact that U.S. goods would have to be purchased for the project, partnering with U.S. Ex-Im for the export credit has allowed the project to obtain a lower rate than with other means of financing. This way, Odebrecht is able to deliver a differentiated solution for its client, the DR Ministry of Public Works and Communications, thus adding value to its relationship”.

Odebrecht Global Sourcing is a company wholly-owned by Construtora Norberto Odebrecht, S.A., Brazil’s largest construction company. Its role is to source U.S. goods for projects of Construtora Norberto Odebrecht all over the world.

Ex-Im Bank, an independent, self-sustaining federal agency, helps create and maintain American jobs by filling gaps in export financing and strengthening U.S. export competitiveness.

During the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2011, the Bank approved $8 billion in total financing authorizations, supporting nearly $9.3 billion in export sales. The sales in the first quarter in turn support approximately 66,000 American jobs in communities across the country.

 

During the FY2011 first quarter small business authorizations rose over 22 percent, and new customer volume rose 55 percent, over the same period of 2010. In Fiscal Year 2010 overall, the Bank authorized a record high of approximately $24.5 billion in loans, guarantees and insurance, supporting about 230,000 American jobs.

Dominican Republic Live, 21.02.11

Tourism Minister Will Host the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange 2011FEBRUARY 2011

Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange 2011On 27-29 April 2011

BREAKING NEWS : The National Hotel and Tourism Association (ASONAHORES) announced the celebration of the 12th Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange DATE for 27-29 April at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Macao, Punta Cana.

 

Nearly 100 tour operators US, Canada, Germany and Latin America are expected to attend to Dominican Republics’s leading travel booking event.

The traditional Caribbean night will take place at the Barcelo Bávaro Beach Resort this year.

Dominican Republic Live, 22.02.11

Dominican Republic Could Become the Best Destination in the Caribbean to Produce FilmsFEBRUARY 2011

Construction of the Pinewood studio in Guayacanes begins today

BREAKING NEWS : The UK studio group is hoping to tap into the Latino film and television market; Dominican Republic to offer tax credit of 25% to productions shooting in the country.

“Pinewood Shepperton” is to open a new studio in the Dominican Republic, as part of its ongoing international expansion strategy.

Construction begins today on the new film and TV studios, which will target the Caribbean, South and Central American markets.The venture is being funded by LA and Dominican Republic based producer/distributor Indomina Group, with Pinewood set to receive annual fees for managing the studio.

President Leonel Fernández is slated to head the groundbreaking a ceremony for Dominican Republic’s first major film studio at 9 a.m.Construction of Pinewood Indomina Studios is set to being immediately and the facility is scheduled to open next year.

It is Pinewood’s latest international development following new studio developments in Malaysia, Berlin and Toronto. The new studio will have 5000 square meters of sound stage space, along with 15,000 square meters of production support facilities and an 8 acre water effects facility including a 75X75m exterior water tank, which promises to be the only one in the region.

As an added boost to the new venture, the National Congress of the Dominican Republic has also passed legislation for a tax credit of up to 25% for feature films and TV series shot in the Dominican Republic.

The Pinewood Indomina studio is expected to be completed in 2012.

 

Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive of Pinewood Shepperton, said the venture “represents further progress in Pinewood’s strategy to leverage the strength of our brand internationally and specifically to the growing Latino film and television market”.

Dominican Republic Live, 23.02.11

Top Three Telecommunication Enterprises Will Invest US $ 590 MillionFEBRUARY 2011

To expand their coverage on all the country

BREAKING NEWS : The country’s top three telecommunication enterprises will invest US $590 million in various areas this year (Claro-Codetel US $340 million; Orange US $200 million and Tricom around 50 million) to expand their coverage and products, their CEOs told the Corripio Media Group yesterday.

The announced investments evidence the years of growth of the country’s telecom sector, one of Latin America’s leaders in sustained growth during the last few years.

Oscar Peña, president of Claro, said they’ll invest US $340 million to expand its fiber optic network, its 3G network coverage and to introduce new technologies in cable TV, while Orange Dominicana CEO Jean Marc Harion revealed an investment of US $200 million to expand its 3G technology and introduce 4G in 2011. He said both will improve Internet access.

 

The executive said the funds will also be used in social projects and education program for Orange employees through two schools to train 50% of the company’s workers in services and management. He said they’ll open a technical university to bolster the training of its technicians by March.

As to Tricom, its marketing director Marc Rocher announced an initial investment of US $50 million to recover time lost during an internal reengineering process, noting that they’ll focus on cable television with more channels, faster Internet services and to extend its cellular network.

Dominican Republic Live, 24.02.11

Leonel Fernández Heads Homage to Dominican FlagFEBRUARY 2011

He will pronounce the speech on country’s situation on February 27th

BREAKING NEWS : President Fernández has been taking part in commemorative events for Independence Day that began with the ceremony at the Independence Park graves of the Fathers of the Nation.

Next, in keeping with tradition, President Leonel Fernández is scheduled to deliver the annual state of the nation address at the National Congress on occasion of Independence Day that this year falls on Sunday, 27 February. Traditionally the speech has been based on the annual reports from the ministries and government departments.

The President is also expected to present the country’s 20-year National Strategic Plan developed by the Ministry of Economy and Planning. In the past President’s used the occasion to announce cabinet changes, but President Fernández has been known for working with the same men throughout his three terms with very few cabinet changes.

Moreover, President Leonel Fernández is known for being one of the least communicative Presidents of recent times. He rarely makes himself available to the press for questions.
Several TV shows have organized pre-speech debates and discussions.

President Fernández will speak at a time when international petrol price increases have stimulated an ongoing upward spiral in consumer prices.

Dominican Republic Live, 25.02.11

Three Wind Parks Will Start Operations in 2011

They will produce 1,113 megawatts

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez affirmed Sunday that this a landmark year in the energy sector, when three wind parks start operations to produce 1,113 megawatts.

He said the projects in Juancho – Los Cocos, of the power company Electricidad Haina, in southwestern Pedernales; the park Guanillo, of the company Pecasa, in Montecristi (northwest); and Matafongo, of the “Grupo Eolico Dominicana”, in southern Peravia province, will add 1,113 megawatts to the power system by yearend and the start of 2012.

He added that the new input will be from the use of renewable energy as well as with a type of fuel which will contribute to lower the cost of generation and protect the environment.

Dominican Republic Live, 28.02.11

 

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