More exports needed to fill freight containers
Talks advance on DR-Caricom free trade agreement
Farmers given deadline to harvest crops in Los Haitises
Protected area visitation fees increased
Lajun landfill site sales contract was not approved by Congress
Mexican cement company inaugurates new packaging line
Dominican are franchising more businesses
Still much work needed to bring the Malecon back
Green March to take place in San Francisco de Macorís
Armada seizes 129 boats used for trip to Puerto Rico
Three hold-ups coincide with new security operation
Youth dies in motorcycle race
7th International Guitar Festival at Centro Cultural Banreservas
Religious classics in the Colonial City
Bachatas at Centro León in Santiago
Open Waters Festival in Palmar de Ocoa



More exports needed to fill freight containers
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado highlighted that 25% of the freight containers that bring imported goods to the Dominican Republic return empty. He said freight container cargo movement at Dominican ports has tripled since 2000 going from 566,579 containers (20 feet) to 1,795,221 in 2014. 75% of goods are transported by sea. Vargas spoke at the luncheon of the Dominican Shippers Association (ANRD) on Thursday, 6 April 2017. 

Adding to Maldonado’s comments, Teddy Heinsen, president of ANRD, said this is evidence the country needs to invest more in exports and find more markets for local products to reduce the trade deficit. 

During the 10 years of the implementation of the DR-CAFTA trade agreement, the Dominican Republic has accumulated a trade deficit with the United States of US$27.23 billion. Imports have been US$69.19 billion compared to exports of US$41.95 billion. 

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/04/0...egresan-vacios
https://www.diariolibre.com/economia...igen-FE6754052
http://hoy.com.do/heinsen-ve-se-debe...exportaciones/
http://hoy.com.do/cafta-rd-usa-gran-...es-de-10-anos/
http://elnacional.com.do/movimiento-...en-puertos-rd/


Talks advance on DR-Caricom free trade agreement
During the 5th Meeting of the Joint Council of the Caricom and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, held recently in Georgetown, Guyana, island missions approved a resolution to strengthen commercial relations in the region. The Dominican Republic was represented by Cesar R. Dargam Espaillat, director for foreign trade and free trade agreements of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Small Business (MICM). 

Dargam Espaillat said rules for the joint council procedures were agreed on and there was an exchange of lists of products the countries are interested in protecting in regards to the free trade agreement. Likewise, the rules of origin for the implementation of Chapter 62 of the agreement regarding textiles were also approved. 

The Dominican delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MIREX), Central Bank (BCRD), Customs Agency (DGA), and the Center for Export and Investment (CEI-RD). 

Those present agreed to hold an extraordinary session of the Joint Council at the end of May 2017 to review the rulings for the implementation of the Caricom-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement and its formal notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

https://www.mic.gob.do/noticias/rd-c...arco-comercial


Farmers given deadline to harvest crops in Los Haitises
Ministry of Environment is giving farmers in Los Haitises a deadline to harvest their crops. Farming is banned in the protected area. The Ministry issued the deadline on Thursday, 6 April 2017. 

Given the lack of enforcement of the ban, farmers who had settled in the communities of El Coco, Caño Dulce, Higuerito, California Arroyón and Trepada Alta are now being given 120 days to harvest their last crops. Farmers in the communities of Los Limones, Pilancón and Laguna Cristal are being given 10 months to harvest their crops.

Environment Minister Domínguez Brito made the announcement during a press conference in which he launched the campaign “Plan de Rescate de Los Haitises.” 

He spoke of the biodiversity and potential for ecotourism that the conservation of the Los Haitises National Park can bring. He highlighted the importance of conservation given the abundant amount of ground water in the aquifers within the Park.  

In addition, Dominguez Brito highlighted the Park’s importance as the source of fresh water for the eastern provinces of the Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macorís, Monte Plata and Hato Mayor. The Park’s water resources also supply the farm areas of Bajo Yuna between the provinces of María Trinidad Sánchez and Duarte. 

The Ministry of Environment said that patrols would be reinforced and 21 control posts installed in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the National Environmental Protection Service (Senpa) to regulate access to the protected area. He said 45 brigades will be entrusted with the ecological restoration of the areas that have been critically degraded by farming. He said that the residents in the area would be integrated in the conservation areas. 

http://ambiente.gob.do/medio-ambient...-los-haitises/


Protected area visitation fees increased
Ministry of Environment announced increases to the cost of visiting protected areas. The Ministry says that the permanent maintenance of these areas requires costly investment in staff and infrastructure. The Ministry says the increase in the fees will help give better service and reduce the impact of the visits on some fragile areas. The Ministry says that some areas such as Catalina Island, Saona Island (Parque Nacional Cotubanamá/Del Este) and Cayo Arena are suffering from intense visitation. 

Nevertheless, the Ministry says that school and university student visitations will be exempt from the charges in order to promote the conservation of these areas. 

The Ministry explained that some areas, such as in the case of Duarte Peak and the Limon Waterfall, require measures to control visits to the present levels to preserve the areas from environmental degradation. 
The Ministry says that the rate increases will not apply to tour operators who can show proof of having paid in advance for the visits. 

Among the fees for Dominicans/residents and tourists are:
Catalina Island, Saona Island and Cayo Arena (RD$100, RD$500)
La Caleta (RD$100, RD$400)
Los Tres Ojos (RD$200, RD$300)
Parque Nacional Armando Bermudez / Pico Duarte (RD$200, RD$300)
Parque Nacional Cotubanamá/ Del Este (RD$200, RD$500)
Parque Nacional Lago Enriquillo / Isla Cabritos (RD$200, RD$300)
Parque Nacional Submarino Montecristi [which includes Cayo Arena] (RD$200, RD$500)
Monumento Natural Isla Catalina (RD$300, RD$500)
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna Cabral y Rincón (RD$200, RD$300)
Rufugio de Vida Silvestre Lagunas Redonda y Limon (RD$200, RD$300)
Parque Nacional Los Haitises (RD$200, RD$300)
Parque Nacional El Morro (RD$200, RD$300). 

http://acento.com.do/2017/ecologia/8...as-protegidas/


Lajun landfill site sales contract was not approved by Congress
The president of the Commission of Contracts of the Chamber of Deputies Hector Feliz Feliz says that the sales contract for the land where the Duquesa landfill operated by Lajun is located was never sent to Congress for its approval. Lajun says it is the owner of the landfill site.

The PRD legislator confirmed that while the land was sold to Lajun Corporation by the State Sugar Council (CEA) in 2009 under the administration of Domingo Enrique Martínez Reyes. He said the sales contract indicates Lajun would have paid RD$82 million for the property. But Feliz Feliz says the sale will only be valid when it is approved by Congress. 


Mexican cement company inaugurates new packaging line
President Danilo Medina was present at the inaugural Cemex Dominicana’s state-of-the-art cement packaging and palletizing line at its San Pedro de Macorís plant.  A RD$400 million investment, the new line will increase operation efficiency by 30%. 

The new line, which uses Italian technology, has the capacity to produce 1.5 million cement bags a month, equivalent to 800,000 tons a year. 

Speaking at the event, Minister of Industry & Commerce Temístocles Montás praised the generating of hard currency by exports and job creation by Cemex Dominicana. 

http://www.eldinero.com.do/39552/cem...d400-millones/


Dominican are franchising more businesses
Oscar Luis Monzón, executive director of the Dominican Association of Franchises, says that 40% of the franchise industry growth has been generated by local companies. He said that more than 50,000 persons work in these franchises. 

In the Dominican Republic there are around 150 foreign franchises from Spain, Mexico, US, Venezuela and other countries. 

http://www.listindiario.com/economia...crecido-un-40-
http://hoy.com.do/resaltan-aportes-d...a-economia-rd/


Still much work needed to bring the Malecon back
The president of the Santo Domingo Hotel Association, Roberto Henríquez, calls for the demolition of the two high-rise buildings that would have been hotels but were abandoned for construction problems on the Malecón near Plaza Guibia. He says the buildings are used as hideouts by criminals, prostitution and drug addicts and create a feeling of abandonment to the area. 

He also says the authorities need to improve the lighting on the Malecon, eliminate heavy vehicle traffic and force owners to clean-up empty lots.   

Henriquez says that businesses located on the Malecon that have gone bankrupt need to be repossessed, especially those properties from the Fray Anton de Montesinos monument to Abraham Lincoln Avenue. Ironically, Henriquez claims these businesses went bankrupt precisely due to the abandonment the iconic avenue during the past city administration. 

Henriquez had praise for the efforts rolled out by new National District Mayor David Collado to rescue the Malecon. He mentioned the expansion of the sidewalks and the placement of benches so people can contemplate the sea. He said the city hoteliers are 100% behind the efforts by the new mayor to return the Malecon to its splendor of past decades. 

Henríquez says that there are four major hotels on the Malecon – Sheraton, Jaragua, Crowne Plaza, Catalonia that have invested heavily in improvements. He also mentioned the new Ministry of Foreign Relations convention center that is located on the Malecon. 

Henriquez spoke of the three key points in the city that are the Malecon, the Colonial City and the Poligono Central. 

“But no one is stopping the Malecon and its recovery has to be definite,” he said. 
Henriquez says prospects are good for the construction of four or five new hotels in Santo Domingo to take advantage of the cultural attractions of the Colonial City, the gastronomy of the city and the high level medical tourism. 

http://hoy.com.do/hoteleros-planean-...santo-domingo/


Green March to take place in San Francisco de Macorís
After very successful protests in Santo Domingo and Santiago, the Green March organizers announced that Sunday, 23 April 2017, is the day for the people in the northeast to protest against impunity and administrative corruption. The activity is programmed for 10am on Sunday, and the protest route starts at Av. Frank Grullón corner Imbert street ending at General Manuel María Castillo corner Gaspar Hernández Street. Organizers are inviting residents in Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris), Juan Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí) and María Trinidad Sánchez (Salcedo) to take part. 

The protest movement came about from an up-swelling of the citizenry demanding that Dominican government officers involved in the bribery and overpricing scandal of works built by Odebrecht of Brazil in the Dominican Republic be identified and prosecuted. Odebrecht officials admitted in a US court to paying US$92 million in bribes in the Dominican Republic. 

So far, only Angel Rondón has admitted to receiving a similar amount but has argued these were not bribes, but his fees for his services in assisting the company in securing the contract work in the Dominican Republic. The government’s inquiry into the scandal has produced a veritable parade of dozens of former and present government officers marching into the Attorney General’s office to testify. 

http://hoy.com.do/san-francisco-de-m...l-23-de-abril/


Armada seizes 129 boats used for trip to Puerto Rico
Vice Admiral Miguel Enrique Peña Acosta announced in recent months 129 boats have been seized as part of efforts to put a stop to illegal boat trips to Puerto Rico that are linked to human trafficking and other illicit activities. 

The chief of the Armada said they are operating with a fleet of 40 naval units and can point to many successful missions that have intercepted illegal transport of people, as well as drug, firearm and merchandise smuggling operations. Meeting with journalists at Las Americas International Airport, Peña Acosta spoke with confidence of the now robust control of Dominican coasts. 

http://hoy.com.do/armada-decomisa-12...a-puerto-rico/


Three hold-ups coincide with new security operation
The National Police is investigating three hold-ups that occurred precisely in the week government security forces have stepped up patrols in the National District. 

The most recent hold-up occurred on Wednesday at dawn in Los Angeles, in Km 13 of Duarte Highway. Two men died from their injuries received during the assault. They had stopped to purchase food. The victims are 27-year old Lenin Santiago and 31-year old Javier Santana who were shot at by criminals to take their cell phones and their motorcycle.  The criminals got away. 

The other cases are the robbery to the Meat and More Restaurant on Av. Enriquillo, Los Cacicazgos. Two men held up the group of people that were dining at the restaurant and restaurant staff, made their robbery and fled. 
On Monday, 4 April, two hooded robbers who arrived at around 2am on motorcycle, held up the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant located at Av. Rómulo Betancourt corner Defilló in Bella Vista and stole RD$190,000 of the day’s sales. 

Spokesman of the Police Nelson Rosario said these cases are under investigation. 

http://elnacional.com.do/delincuenci...lan-seguridad/
http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/04/0...go-esta-semana


Youth dies in motorcycle race
17-year old Jimmy Hernández, son of a physical education professor, was pronounced dead after competing in a motorcycle race in Loma de Cabrera on the border with Haiti. He died while being transported by ambulance to a hospital in Santiago. The person who accompanied Hernandez was injured in the incident but is expected to recover. 

Witnesses say the accident occurred during a motorcycle race in the community of Mariano Cestero on the road section known as La Recta (the straight road stretch). 

http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/04/0...s-loma-cabrera


7th International Guitar Festival at Centro Cultural Banreservas
Head out to the Centro Cultural Banreservas in the Colonial City for evenings of inspirational guitar playing. Guitarists from the Americas are in Santo Domingo for the 7th International Guitar Festival with renditions of music from the Renaissance to contemporary guitar music. 

The event is organized by Cuban Ruben González, guitar professor at the National Music Conservatory, who is also performing. 

Also participating this year are Dominican guitarists Joel Rosario, Edgar Molina and Felipe Báez, Colombian Cristian Cardozo, Peruvian Fernando Rentería and from the United States, Jon Paul Yerbi. 

The festival began on Wednesday, 5 April and continues through Saturday, 8 April 2017. Among the compositions to be played are Bach’s Chaconne; Petenera y Zapateado by Regino Saínz de la Maza from Spain; and El dia que me quieras by Carlos Gardel, music by Leo Brower, Mathias Duplessy, Suite Coyumbaba by Carlos Dominicoin among others.   

Thursday, 6 April and Friday, 7 April at 8pm and on Saturday, 8 April at 6pm at the Centro Cultural de Banreservas (Calle Isabel la Católica No. 202). Free admission. 


Religious classics in the Colonial City
The Círculo de Música Ciudad Colonial presents its third concert of the year on Sunday, 9 April 2017 at 6pm, at the Capilla de los Remedios on Calle Las Damas in the Colonial City. 

The concert celebrates Easter Week and includes different renditions of the Ave Maria, among other religious classics. The performers are soprano Antonia Chabebe, Omar Ubri at the piano and Claudio Reyes playing the violoncello. 

Tickets are RD$500. 


Bachatas at Centro León in Santiago
Head for the Centro León in Santiago for a memorable evening of a selection of Dominican bachatas on Friday, 7 April 2017 at 8pm. Go early to ensure getting a seat. 

The concert will be directed by Ruben Mirabal and is part of the 7th International Music, Identity and Culture in the Caribbean Congress at the cultural center. The performers are: Leonardo Paniago, Luis Segura and José Manuel Calderón. 

Open Waters Festival in Palmar de Ocoa
This Saturday, 15 April 2017 is the Festival Acuatico Wiche Garcia Saleta in Palmar de Ocoa. Registration is free at Stono (Club Paraiso) on Av. Winston Churchill in Santo Domingo. 

For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar