The Dominican Organization of Shopping Malls (ONEC) is protesting the lenience of the government in allowing Chinese businesses to operate outside the law.
Large consumer goods stores set up by Chinese nationals are investing big to set up large stores in Dominican cities. El Dia reports exponential growth of the Chinese businesses and says they are taking advantage of the country’s regulatory weaknesses.
“Today we see them in all the provinces of the Dominican Republic and, above all, they now compete with large and traditional stores,” says Jennifer Troncoso, executive director. of the National Organization of Commercial Companies (ONEC).
Previously mostly into love motels or food businesses, the Chinese have expanded to
sell clothing, footwear, plastics, as well as hardware and household items (be they furniture, glassware), household appliances, auto decorations, cosmetics and more. The lure is lower prices.
Troncoso says that the Chinese offer lower prices because they evade taxes and have less labor costs as many have found loopholes in the system to avoid paying social security charges (TSS) and training charges (Infotep).
Dominican merchants say this is unfair competition. Furthermore, the Chinese business people have found ways to get around construction regulations.
To investigate the situation, ONEC sought urban planner Omar Rancier, who specifically studied one mega store construction located on Gregorio Luperón Avenue near Guarocuya Street. The study revealed numerous violations of municipal regulations, especially with the issue of parking and emergency exits for a place so large.
“The most serious thing is that a two-level project was approved and they are doing a five-level project. Basically that is what we found,” said the director of the UNPHU architecture school.
8 February 2024