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Dominican Republic - The best investment place in the caribbean!

Without any doubt the Dominican Republic is a country that is progressing and moving forward. Figures and facts show, that for more than 30 years the country has in every aspect been steadly growing. A close look to economic indicators shows that this growth has been sustained and that, when there have been short recession periods the Dominican economy has always recovered with even more dynamism. It shows furthermore the substantial structural and functioning changes that the Dominican society has been going through. The Dominican Republic is a country that offers many opportunities for business and investment. Its strategic geographic position allows an easy access to the markets of the United States, Latin America and the entire Caribbean. Its growing economy is supported by an ongoing process of modernization, and reinforced by aggressive efforts to promote trade liberalization and economic integration. It enjoys an environment of political stability and democratic consolidation. For all these reasons, the Dominican Republic conforms the ideal option for companies and persons of any nationality wishing to expand their investments. panoramic

All throughout the years the Dominican Republic has developed a large physical infrastructure, highly developed and adapted to the requirements of a society focused towards production and the marketing of goods and services. Certainly, this infrastructure is an important support to productive activities. Special mention should be made of transport and communication facilities both at a local and international level. The road network that links practically all of the country's destinations is one of the best of the region, while air and maritime services include the main lines worldwide. The Dominican Republic has a modern, wide and efficient airport system that receive cargo and passengers traveling directly from North America, South America and Europe. It comprises six airports located all throughout the national territory used for international flights, as well as other available for domestic flights. The country has also 11 important ports. The main are the Haina Port, Santo Domingo Port and Boca Chica Port, which is one of the most modern and dynamic of the Caribbean. These seaports and airports, which handle both cargo and a growing number of travelers, are located within a short distance of industrial centers.

The Dominican Republic is currently going through an important process of democratic consolidation, and the results of the last three presidential elections held in 1996, 2000 and 2004 reflect the growing democratic maturity of the nation. These election processes have been carried with transparency, without questionings and with great poll participation. The traditional political leadership that had ruled the country since the beginning of the democratization process in the sixties has been gradually being replaced by a younger generation of leaders who are trying to achieve an economically feasible project comprising global competition, public sector responsibility and decentralization. While this process takes place, the country is experiencing very important moments for its future from the economic standpoint. Since 1996 the Dominican Republic had achieved the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, as a result of the constant macroeconomic stability and the gradual increase of private sector participation. In this regard, the growth experienced by the Dominican economy between the years 1996 and 2000 captured the attention of the international community, being praised by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, during five consecutive years the country had been breaking its annual growth record.

Like the rest of the world, the Dominican Republic has been transformed by the phenomen of globalization, and since the year 1991 has been involved in a reform process oriented towards the modernization of the legal and economic framework under which businesses operate in the country, with the view of adapting its economy to the new competitive standards, accelerating its insertion within global and regional economic groups, and promoting the flow of foreign capital. This process of economic modernization and gradual integration to global markets, combined with the human and natural resources of the country, and with the investment opportunities offered by most of the productive sectors, make the Dominican Republic a place of interest throughout the world.

In the year 2002 ended the process of approval of the new legal framework for monetary policy and banking business in the Dominican Republic, which for more than half a century had been regulated by the laws resulting from the financial reform of 1947. Thus, on 16 November 2002 the Monetary and Financial Law No. 183-02 was passed, which is the result of a consensus reached among very diverse sectors of the public and private financial levels of the national and international community, after an intensive consultation process. The law provides that the purpose of monetary regulation is to maintain price stability, which is indispensable for national economic development, while the purpose of financial regulation is to see to the compliance with the liquidity, solvency and management conditions set forth in the law by entities of financial intermediation, in order to ensure the normal functioning of the system in an environment of competition, efficiency and free market.

At an international level, the Dominican Republic benefits from different programs for project financing, and for investment insurance against exchange and political risks, both of which contribute to make the country an attractive and safe place for the placement of investments. Since the Dominican Republic belongs to a number of international organizations, the investor who decides to carry out a project in the country could benefit from the facilities for project financing and investment guarantee that are available under different international schemes. International organizations such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) grant credit facilities under good conditions for the realization of projects in sectors considered to be important for the development of the national economy. Private projects in areas like agriculture, tourism and industry benefit from these programs. In this regard, in the year 2001 the International Financing Corporation (IFC), of the World Bank Group, opened a branch in the country in order to be able to provide direct financing to local companies in areas of strategic importance for development. Furthermore, also in that year the Dominican Republic became a member of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a fund managed by the IADB to provide financial resources for private sector development, particularly small enterprises. Furthermore, the Dominican Republic is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agreement (MIGA), an agency of the World Bank established in the year 1988 to promote the flow of capitals to its developing member countries. The MIGA grants guarantees to cover the risks of impossibility of exchange into foreign currency, expropriation, non-compliance of contract by the government and civil disturbance or war. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a government agency of the United States, is also active in the country with financing facilities and investment insurance programs against certain risks.

International trade plays a key role in the Dominican economy. Imported components are estimated to account for 60% of the value of the goods consumed in the local market, while exports have increased considerably in the last years mainly through the development of free zones. The preferential export rights enjoyed by the Dominican nation to enter the United States and European markets, as well as the process of regional integration undertaken by the Dominican Republic, have largely contributed to the development of the external sector and offer a wide range of export opportunities. The country imports products from all over the world, but close to 40% comes from the United States. The main imports are oil and oil products, vehicles, boilers and machinery, house appliances, iron and steel, plastic materials, carton and pharmaceutical products.In relation to consumption products, the main imports are fat and animal oils, wheat, milk and dairy products, cereals, seeds and fish.As to free zone imports, many raw materials are imported for assembly and then re-exported.These products include textiles, shoes, medical equipment, etc. Raw material imported by free zones comes, in order of significance, from the following nations: United States, Popular Republic of China, South Korea,Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Italy.

The Dominican Republic is making efforts to accelerate the commercial integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.The Government, aware that the globalization trends require that countries adapt themselves to the schemes of liberalization that will soon prevail worldwide, has decided to actively promote the commercial integration of the countries of the region. The Dominican Republic has thus become one of the drivers of this process, which implies a significant change in the country's international relations when compared to the relative isolation of the country during the previous decades. In line with the above, in February 1997 the Executive Power created the National Commission for Commercial Negotiations with the attribution of negotiating the signature of trade agreements in a successful and profitable manner for the Dominican Republic.This Commission formed the Negotiator Team that has been carrying out the process of negotiation with the countries of the region. The civil and business community, in a level of organization and co-operation never experienced before, has also participated actively in the negotiations.The different economic sectors, through the Consultant Committee, have helped to identify the national priorities, and thus to determine the goals which the Negotiator Team seeks to achieve in every round of negotiations. The negotiation policy of the Dominican Republic has been guided by a firm approach to the closest geographic region, proposing the formation of a strategic alliance with the countries of Central America and CARICOM (including Haiti), in the understanding that a joint block of all these nations will allow, not only to widen the market and export capacity of each country, but also to negotiate together with the big blocks of the hemisphere (NAFTA, MERCOSUR, DR-CAFTA and Andean Group) and thus have a stronger position before them. The country has already signed a Free Trade Agreement with Central America, another similar agreement with CARICOM and a Trade Agreement with Panama. With CARICOM it shares the Forum of ACP Caribbean Countries, as members of the Cotonou Agreement (CARIFORUM). Central America,CARICOM,the Dominican Republic and other nations belong to the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Furthermore, after several negotiations, in March 2005 the Dominican Republic became a member of the Free Trade Agreement signed between the United States and Central America.