Foreign Relations Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso says that the Dominican government has not taken a stance on the European Union’s decision to accept Haiti’s conditions for its participation as a member of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Cariforum countries. The conditions levy high tariffs on imports from Cariforum countries, including the Dominican Republic, its principal trading partner. The EPA was signed on 15 October 2008 in Barbados, but Haiti did not sign the treaty.
The tariffs affect 70 products exported from the DR. Haiti signed the agreement on 10 December. Morales Troncoso said the Dominican government was formally notified on 22 December. He said that the National Commission of Trade Negotiations (CNNC) needed to formulate its position.
In a statement published in Listin Diario, Morales Troncoso said that the entry of Haiti to the EPA strengthens judicial security and will generate new jobs in Haiti. He said it introduces institutional and legal commitments on agriculture, customs regulations and sanitary standards. He also mentioned that it would bring reforms that will make trade and investment transparent for the international community.
In the press release, Morales Troncoso says that free trade conditions would happen in 5 years time. “The EPA contains a regional preference clause, therefore what each member of Cariforum conceded to Europe will have to apply to the other Cariforum members. This will apply to the DR 5 years after the implementation of the treaty in Haiti. Meanwhile, all the other institutional aspects of the EPA apply between the Caribbean and Europe.”