Economy December 14, 2023 | 12:00 pm

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USAID commits $1.4 Million for Dominican trade enhancement

Santo Domingo.- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a significant commitment to support the Dominican Republic’s trade sector. Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman revealed a $1.4 million donation during her visit to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and MSMEs. This funding is earmarked to bolster the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF), a program aimed at enhancing trade and nearshoring opportunities through effective public-private partnerships.

The announcement was a highlight of Coleman’s visit and involved key public and private sector representatives. The alliance includes several prominent Dominican institutions, such as the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and MSMEs, the General Directorate of Customs, ProIndustria, ProDominicana, and the National Council of Export Free Zones. From the private sector, influential bodies like the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Association of Exporters were present.

This initiative is particularly focused on empowering micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including those led by women. It aims to facilitate these businesses’ participation in international trade and capitalize on nearshoring opportunities. Additionally, the program seeks to create commercial linkages between local SMEs, including women-run companies, and free zone companies, assisting them in achieving trade facilitation certification.

Coleman’s trip included strategic discussions with Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader, Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Álvarez, and Minister of the Presidency Joel Santos. These talks centered around strengthening bilateral cooperation and exploring new investment avenues. The visit also featured a meeting with Scott Nathan, executive director of the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), focusing on investment opportunities in light of the United Nations General Assembly and the USAID Democracy Works event.

Coleman and Nathan also engaged in talks with Minister Bisonó to further collaborative efforts towards inclusive economic development, improved investment climates, and anti-corruption measures. Additionally, Coleman participated in a roundtable with local civil society organizations to discuss various societal issues.

This donation follows an earlier pledge in April 2023 by then-Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who announced a $6 million USAID donation to develop the northwest region of the Dominican Republic as an economic hub through nearshoring industries and trade via the Port of Manzanillo.

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, supported by the governments of Canada, Germany, and the United States, aims to reduce trade barriers and streamline import and export processes. It emphasizes the role of trade as a key driver of economic growth and development, promoting effective public-private partnerships to achieve these goals.

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