Business sector favors bilateral agreements with Guyana

AIRD cites companies that already have contracts for work in the construction sector

The Dominican Republic and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana have taken a crucial step in consolidating their diplomatic and commercial relations by signing six agreements the day before yesterday, covering a wide spectrum, from energy to agricultural and tourism issues. However, the private sector already had plans in place prior to the formalization of these signatures.

The strengthening of relations has been welcomed by the Dominican business sector, which sees in these agreements an opportunity to boost investment in the energy, industrial and agricultural sectors, as well as to strengthen cooperation and promote local exports.

Celso Juan Marranzini, president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep), identified niches of opportunity in several sectors, especially in construction.

Marranzini said: “We can have the opportunity to participate in investments in the hydrocarbons and energy sectors, and also to increase our participation in the constructions that Guyana is now demanding, as a result of the double-digit growth it is experiencing”.

He recalled that the Dominican Republic already exports products to Guyana through treaties, such as the Free Trade Agreement between the DR and the Caribbean Community (Caricom-DR), and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), but stressed that the agreements go beyond mere commercialization.

In line with this, Julio Brache, president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), advanced that there are already Dominican projects underway in Guyana, some of which were announced during the signing of the agreements.

“These agreements do not remain at the theoretical level, but are being translated into tangible actions, such as the purchase of agricultural products in Guyana.”
Julio Brache
President of the AIRD

He cited the case of the Marriott hotel chain, which is developing a significant project and has already hired Dominican architecture and construction companies to participate in it.

Brache stressed that these agreements do not remain on a theoretical level, but are being translated into tangible actions, such as the purchase of agricultural products in Guyana by local companies, such as coconuts.

Assessing tariffs

In a context marked by these developments, economist Nassim Alemany positively evaluated the government’s initiative to explore investment opportunities in Guyana. However, he raised the need for more details to properly assess the benefits. He noted the importance of addressing issues such as tariffs and how business transactions will be conducted going forward.

Alemany emphasized that the proposed investment, especially if it comes from the private sector, would not have a fiscal impact on the government’s public finances, which would be a positive aspect for the country’s economic health. In addition, he addressed the issue of the joint cultivation of corn in Guyana, a grain that the Dominican Republic does not produce locally and depends on imports. In this regard, agreements with Guyana could offer a solution to address the corn import deficit facing the country, particularly under DR-Cafta.

Support for SMEs

The presidents of the Dominican Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Codopyme) and of the National Federation of Merchants and Entrepreneurs of the Dominican Republic (Fenacerd), Luis Miura and José Díaz, respectively, showed their support for the agreements.

They consider that they do not represent a threat to the commercial sector; on the contrary, they have the potential to provide direct and indirect benefits to local commerce.

The six agreements

The signing of the first memorandum of understanding is aimed at improving bilateral investment relations. This will be achieved by facilitating foreign direct investment and providing practical information to companies under the legal regulations of both countries.

In the area of tourism, the ministers of both nations signed a document in which the parties commit to collaborate in strengthening the tourism offerings of the two destinations.

In addition, agreements have been signed that address key issues such as the possibility for the Dominican Republic to participate in the exploration of an oil block, the establishment of a petrochemical plant and an oil refinery, taking into account the technical, economic, legal, social and environmental aspects involved, within Guyana’s legal and public policy framework.

They will also collaborate on agricultural matters, including, in particular, the production of corn, soybeans and other agricultural products for food security.

Soybeans and corn needed in the face of low production

Some poultry farmers welcomed the news that the Dominican Republic and Guyana will contribute to the joint production of corn and soybeans, necessary inputs for the sector, one of them is the president of the Egg Producers Association (Asohuevos), Manuel Escaño, who said that this could be positive “as long as a considerable amount is produced” to meet the demand. He explained that local corn production has not had a significant impact to reduce the five or six ships that arrive each month with 20,000 tons of corn and 10,000 tons of soybeans, each one, and the president of the Northwest Line Chicken Association, José Ramón Espinal, agrees, adding that this could bring opportunities in the exchange of agricultural products and in the export of the overproduction of eggs and chickens. However, for the president of the Association of Agricultural Producers of Moca and Licey (Aproamoli), Ambiorix Cabrera, the agricultural authorities should occupy themselves with sowing “the more than eight million tareas available” with these inputs, in order to depend less on imports.


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Dominican Republic Live Editor

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