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Daily News - Wednesday, 12 February 2014

President speaks to manufacturers
President Danilo Medina, speaking to the highest echelons of business leaders in the country at the Central Bank yesterday, Tuesday 11 February for the Second Follow-up Forum to the II Industries Congress, promised that his government would always be a decisive ally for manufacturers.

According to the President, the National Housing and Development Bank (BNV) will start operating as an Export Development Bank by June. The former BNV will be restructured to finance and thus grow the export sector.

Medina said that there is more coordination with the business sector than ever before and that they were working systematically to eliminate the obstacles that have traditionally hampered the manufacturing sector and that they could look to the future with confidence and optimism.

He went on to say that the last three months the growth figure was 7.2% and the projections for 2014 were even better than the 2013 figure of 4.1% for the year.

Medina said that all of the sectors of the economy had grown without exception and all of the macroeconomic indicators had strengthened.

He said that he was committed to a model that combines both economic growth and social justice.

Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD) president Ligia Bonetti confirmed the support of the current government and said that thousands of people were being taken out of poverty via the government's social programs and that 104,000 new jobs had been created last year. She also expressed confidence that the target of 400,000 new jobs would be reached

The forum at the Central Bank auditorium was attended by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo Savinon, Luisa Fernandez, executive director of the National Board of Free Zones, Alexandra Izquierdo, director of the Center for Industrial Development and Competitiveness (Proindustria) and Andres Vanderhorst, director of the National Competitiveness Board (CNC).

Also present were the president of the Dominican Association of Free Zones (Adozona), Aquiles Bermudez and Manuel Diez Cabral from the National Business Council (Conep).


Ligia Bonetti: All imports from US in 2015 will be tax-free!
The manufacturing sector in the Dominican Republic is pinning its hopes on public-private synergies to re-launch industry in the country.

The DR's Association of Industries president Ligia Bonetti drove home the reality that come 2015 all goods made in the United States would enter the DR tax-free under the DR-CAFTA agreement. Speaking at the Second Follow-up Forum to the II Industrial Congress yesterday, Tuesday 11 February, the spokesperson for the AIRD urged the DR to get its act together behind goods and services "Made in Dominican Republic."

"We have spent decades discussing the formulas for development. We have failed to notice that the resources are right there under our noses. We have been distracted by trying to make rich people less rich, and all we have achieved is to make the poor poorer," she said. That distraction has opened up doors for outsiders to come in and take the very things that we have not been able to make the most of, she stated.

She added that globalization has created new paradigms. "Now more than ever it is necessary to generate production and jobs, where market economics, economic and trade integration, macroeconomic stability, fiscal responsibility and improvements in the regulatory framework to ensure sustainable growth prevail so as to stimulate innovation, investment, wealth, jobs and social cohesion," she told the audience.

"That is why it is important to insist on ways of stimulating growth based on export of goods and services with greater diversity and value added," said Bonetti. This would then result in increased generation of hard currency and less pressure on the balance of payment, she explained.

The II Congress for Industries set the goals of doubling exports from 2012 to 2017 to US$11 billion, creating 300,000 new jobs in manufacturing, increasing the number of industries in operation to 10,000 or 28% more, increasing number of manufacturing companies that export more than US$1 million a year from 209 to 500 by 2017.

On the occasion of yesterday's Congress of Industries, the government also announced changes to the Competitiveness and Industrial Innovation Law (392-07), Border Promotion Law 28-1 and Industrial Free Zone Law 8-90 that will be sent to Congress.


Read the full speech by Ligia Bonetti at http://informa-rse.blogspot.com/2014/02/industria-trabajar-juntos-es-el-exito.html

Egg exports to Haiti to resume
Minister of Agriculture Luis Ramon Rodriguez announced yesterday, Tuesday 11 February that exports of Dominican chickens and eggs to Haiti would resume in around four weeks time, following the agreement that was signed between the Haitian and Dominican authorities at the bi-national meeting in Jimani on 3 February.

Rodriguez said that it would start from two farms that had been certified as healthy by the Haitian agricultural authorities, and then more as they too become certified.

He went on to say that the certification process was estimated to take six months and around 15 to 20 farms would be able to export to Haiti.

This would mean that around 40 million eggs a month, and around eight million chickens a month would be exported to Haiti, representing around RD$100 to 140 million per month for the country.


Cancer hospital ready
The director of the Office of Supervising Engineers for Public Works (OISOE), Miguel Pimentel Kareh has announced that the Rosa Emilia Tavarez Oncology Hospital in Santo Domingo is now ready to be handed over to the Ministry of Public Health.

He said that a meeting was scheduled with the Minister of Health Freddy Hidalgo today, Wednesday 12 February to establish the actual day for the official handover.

He said that the new building, which was inaugurated at the end of the Leonel Fernandez government in 2012, was a very modern building and that people will not have to leave the country to receive specialist cancer treatment as it was the most modern of its kind in the Caribbean.


Citizenship bill draft sent to Congress
The Committee for Solidarity with Denationalized People has handed over a paper to the Chamber of Deputies for the drafting of a bill that recognizes Dominican nationality to all descendants of foreigners born in the country and registered by the Civil Registry between 21 June 1929 and 26 January 2010, when the new Constitution came into force.

The bill was delivered to the legislators by Father Mario Serrano, who argues that numerous articles in the Constitution allow these people to have Dominican nationality if they were born before 2010.

The document also mentions several conventions and international agreements on human rights to which the Dominican Republic is a signatory.


Taiwanese plant to employ 12,000 to make sneakers
A Taiwanese company is completing the installation of a major sneakers manufacturer in Santiago. The factory is a US$35 million investment, Taiwanese Ambassador Tomas Hou told El Dia. He said the company, which has factories in the People's Republic of China where they employ 60,000 people, would be creating 12,000 new jobs in the DR. Ambassador Tomas Hou said that the company decided to install the factory here due to the rising cost of producing in China. He said many like this company are considering working in the DR because of lower costs, location closer to the United States and access to the Latin American market.

"Now is the time to attract more Asian investments because the cost of producing in China is rising and many businesses are leaving because of that," he told El Dia.

He said a future promotional trip with the director of the National Board for Free Zones Luisa Fernandez, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo and others is being planned so that they can inform Asian businessmen of the advantages of investing in the country. He said that a solar panel manufacturer would be visiting the country next week.

Ambassador Hou said that the government of Taiwan would be donating 1,000 motorcycles to the Police for patrols, 500 of which will arrive in March. He added that another 200 motorcycles would be donated to the Ministry of Public Health to back the 911 Emergency Program. Another 84 ambulances would be donated to the Ministry of the Presidency for natural disaster mitigation programs. The ambulance program is worth US$6 million.

Sexual stimulant banned
The Supreme Court of Justice has ordered a ban on the importation, distribution and sales of the product Erec-f, a sexual stimulant containing Sildenafil.

The court, presided by Judge Mariano German Mejia, sent the judgment to the Customs authority, the National Office of Intellectual Property (ONAPI) and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.

The decision was reached on the grounds that the company that was marketing the stimulant here did not have the rights to the key ingredient.


Hostage 12-year ordeal over
The UK's Daily Mail newspaper has picked up Dominican press reports on the case of Jose Altagracia Lantigua, who is accused of kidnapping a teenager, Maribel Altagracia Lopez and fathering eight children with her during a terrifying 12-year hostage ordeal.

Lopez said her alleged kidnapper stopped her from seeing family and friends after persuading an aunt to let her go with her him so she could work as his maid.

She said: "I went with him because I thought I was going to work but he took me to a house that was being built and has always been abandoned in a community called Loma de los Cocos in Pedro Brand where he sexually abused me."

She claimed Lantigua forced her to hide in a locked room whenever anyone came to the house and said none of the children had ever been to school.

She escaped during a row between her alleged kidnapper and a daughter he is said to have fathered with another woman.

Lantigua, who is protesting his innocence, was arrested by police and is currently being held on remand in prison.



Russian tourist commits suicide
A Russian tourist has committed suicide in Hotel Vistasol (former Carabela) on El Cortecito beach in Punta Cana. Dr. Blanca Mayan confirmed death and said that there was a note written in Russian saying that if he died not to take his body back to Russia. The note was translated by a representative of the Russian Embassy.

The man's body was discovered when the room was opened for cleaning, and was taken to the Institute of Forensic Pathology in Santo Domingo.


Desalia at Hard Rock Punta Cana
DJs Bob Sinclar, best known for his Love Generation and World Hold On productions will be at Hard Rock Punta Cana for the Desalia 2014 event from 14-16 March. This year's Desalia will also include appearances by Danny Avila, winner of the Best Newcomer DJ in the Vicious Music Awards, Spaniards Luigii Nieto and Luke Garcia, and violinist Miguel Lara.

Comedy at Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo
Stand-up comedian Carlos Sanchez is booked for a 19 February performance at the Colonial City's Hard Rock Cafe on Parque Colon. The announcement was made after the 12 February performance was sold out.

For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar

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