Local May 9, 2016 | 8:37 am

Santo Domingo-Havana talks look to forge a trade pact

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic and Cuba have agreed tospeed up talks for a trade pact, said Celia Labora, Havana InternationalRelations director and Chamber of Commerce president.

During his participation in the first "InternationalBusiness Week" hosted by Unibe University International Business School,the Cuban official stressed the trade and investment opportunities n business nichessuch as food, culture, health, and the pharmaceuticals and biotechnologyindustry.

"This model of updating the Cuban economy opens manyopportunities for Dominican businesses in Cuba and for Cuban companies inDominican Republic," the official said.

Labora said two agreements were signed recently during thevisit of a delegation to the of Dominican Republic Industries Association: onebetween the Chambers of Commerce and another to start talks leading to a tradeagreement between the two countries, “allowing for more favorable negotiations withtheir marketable products.

He said a mission of Cuban companies will arrive in thecountry on later this month to present business opportunities.

She said despite the strong diplomatic and trade relations betweenDominican Republic and Cuba, there’s now the possibility to expand and diversify.

Labora listed someof the major challenges to Dominican-Cuban trade: no credit lines, promote bankingties among both countries, reverse the downward trend in trade, identify nichemarkets to increase and diversify exports and define potentialcomplementarities in tourism through multi-destination and health tourism, and creatingsoftware by top Cuban professionals, for cultural and educational services.

She added that stronger ties between the Chambers ofCommerce, exporters and industrial associations and institutional trade promotionare also challenges.

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