Economy April 4, 2016 | 9:41 am

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Award-winning British publishing house produces official publication to mark the Dominican Republic’s Presidency Pro Tempore of CELAC

Santo Domingo.- Yesterday, 1st April, saw the launch of theOfficial Publication to mark the Dominican Presidency Pro Tempore (PPT) of theCommunity of Latin American and Caribbean States – CELAC – at a Meeting ofCELAC Foreign Ministers held at the Ministry of External Relations in SantoDomingo.

The Dominican PPT of CELAC – the major internationalgrouping comprising all 33 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean – marksan important milestone in the Dominican Republic’s international relations,offering the country a valuable opportunity to make its voice heard on theworld stage and to play an important role in shaping the region’s collective responseto major international social and economic challenges.

Produced by FIRST Magazine Limited of the United Kingdom(“FIRST”), in co-operation with the Ministry of External Relations and theDominican Embassy in London, the Official DR-CELAC Publication constitutes aunique source of information on the Dominican Republic, its economy and keyproductive sectors, including the most up-to-date statistics and exclusiveinterviews with key government officials – including President Danilo MedinaSánchez, Foreign Minister Andrés Navarro, Central Bank Governor Hector ValdezAlbizu, Minister of Industry & Commerce José Del Castillo Saviñón, Ministerof Tourism Francisco Javier García, and Minister of Agriculture Angel EstévezBoudierd – as well as business leaders and heads of national and internationalindustry associations.

In addition to the launch at yesterday’s MinisterialMeeting, the publication will be distributed to participants at a number ofmajor events being held in the DR over the course of the Dominican PPT,including the V Summit of CELAC Heads of State and its accompanying BusinessForum, the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the3rd World Cocoa Conference (3WCC), and the EU-CELAC Ministerial Summit. It willalso be circulated internationally via Dominican Embassies and commercialmissions, and to the global readership of FIRST, whose readers comprisebusiness leaders and policy makers worldwide.

Writing in the publication, President Danilo Medina Sánchezhighlighted inequality, the sustainability of rural and urban development,international drug trafficking, and youth unemployment as the key issues facingthe countries of the region, adding that the DR’s presidency “renews ourcommitment to the strengthening of our bonds with extra-regional partners suchas the European Union. It is the occasion for us to demonstrate our politicalwill to be proactive in facing our challenges and advancing our commoninterests.”

In an exclusive interview with FIRST’s Editor, AlastairHarris, Foreign Minister Andrés Navarro García identified the need for the DRto play a more assertive role in the region as one of the key drivers of theDominican PPT, saying: “It’s time we let the world know that the DominicanRepublic is more than beach, bachata and baseball. In short, we are creating acompetitive institution [in the Ministry of External Relations] able to play animportant role in regional affairs … Our reinvigorated diplomacy should reflectthe interests of the nation, not just the government. This is a process that mustinvolve the whole country.”

Elsewhere in the publication, Central Bank Governor HéctorValdez Albizu analysed the recent divergence in the economic fortunes of theDominican Republic and its neighbours in the region, saying: “Generallyspeaking, there are two kinds of economy in Latin America and the Caribbean:those focused on exporting raw materials and commodities, and those like ours,which while small, are open, flexible, and diversified,” adding that “Creating theconditions investors need is not rocket science.”

For his part, Minister of Industry and Commerce José DelCastillo Saviñón identified the informal economy and a lack of access tofinance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as key obstacles to theDR and its regional neighbours fulfilling their economic potential: “One of themain problems micro and SMEs face is barriers when trying to access credit, andfor that reason we are in the process of identifying potential new financialresources for these enterprises.”

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier García underlined theimportance of the country’s most important industry, pointing out that: “Lastyear tourism generated US$6.2 billion and over 250,000 direct and indirectjobs,” adding that “tourism also makes the Dominican Republic more resilient tointernational shocks … [even] in 2008, the tourism sector managed to grow by 3per cent.”

The Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom,Dr Federico Cuello Camilo, said: “This important 12-month period in theinternational spotlight offers an unprecedented platform to highlight the manytrade and investment opportunities which our country offers, as well as ourunique historical, cultural and geographical attributes, our world-class agricultural andgastronomic offerings, our position as one of the world’s leading tourismdestinations, and our key role in the political and economic integration of theCentral American and Caribbean region to potential investors, trading partnersand visitors from around the world.”

Executive Publisher and Editor of FIRST, Alastair Harrissaid: “The Dominican Republic has successfully weathered the recent economicheadwinds facing the region and, in the CELAC PPT, has an excellent opportunityto share its insights and experiences with its regional neighbours and externaltrading partners. We hope that the Official Publication will contribute to thesuccess of the Dominican Presidency, and look forward to reviewing its progressin our follow-up edition later this year.”

FIRST was established in London in 1984 with the remit “toenhance communication between industry, finance and government at the strategiclevel.” This is achieved in three ways: through publishing, event managementand awards.

FIRST Magazine, the company’s flagship title, comprisesexclusive interviews with business and government leaders, with a focus onlong-term strategic issues. Contributors to the magazine regularly includeheads of state, premiers and cabinet ministers, distinguished public figuresand business leaders responsible for the strategic direction of the world’s leadingcommercial enterprises.

FIRST was the winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award forEnterprise in both 2010 and 2013 and the recipient of a 1993 PeriodicalPublishers Association (PPA) award for publishing excellence.

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