January 23 2007
Free Trade for Dominicans in limbo thanks to U.S. ambiguity
Santo Domingo.— The Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the United States has wandered into a state of limbo, notwithstanding statements by Industry and Commerce authorities here that the Dominicans have met all prerequisites needed to enter the treaty. Yet U.S. authorities allege that there are issues pending.
United States ambassador Hans Hertell said that the Dominican Republic has satisfied “almost” 100% of the requisites for initiating the DR-CAFTA, but declined to specify the missing aspects, alleging that this was an issue “government to government that is in the process of resolution.”
Following these statements, the Foreign Trade director Vilma Arbaje reiterated that her offices were not working on anything related to this matter, “because the Dominican Republic met all requisites.”
“I am not aware of the ‘almost’ referenced by Mr. Hans Hertell; you would have to ask him. Perhaps this is related to document transcriptions at the U.S. trade office,” said Arbaje, who reiterated that, as of last December 7th, 2006, Dominican authorities finalized their end of the process by modifying in the National Congress certain laws to satisfy suggestions made by the United States.
Since then, she said, the Dominican Republic awaits for the United States to finish translating documents that the Dominican Republic sent, and hence approve the country’s participation in the trade accord.