USAID pledges $1.4 million to enhance trade in the Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO.- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a major commitment to support the Dominican Republic’s business sector. Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman revealed a $1.4 million donation. The announcement was made during her visit to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs. This financing aims to strengthen the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF), a program focused on improving trade and nearshoring opportunities through effective public-private partnerships.

The alliance includes prominent Dominican institutions such as the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs, the General Directorate of Customs, ProIndustria, ProDominicana, and the National Council of Export Free Zones. Key private sector representatives from influential organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic and the Dominican Association of Exporters were also present.

This initiative specifically targets empowering micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including those led by women. Its objective is to facilitate the participation of these companies in international trade and take advantage of nearshoring opportunities. The program also aims to create business links between local SMEs, including women-led businesses, and free zone businesses, helping them achieve trade facilitation certification.

Coleman’s trip included strategic discussions with the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Álvarez, and the Minister of the Presidency, Joel Santos. The visit also featured a meeting with Scott Nathan, CEO of the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), focusing on investment opportunities in light of the United Nations General Assembly and the Democracy Works event of USAID. Coleman and Nathan also engaged in discussions with Minister Bisonó to promote collaborative efforts towards inclusive economic development, improved investment climates, and anti-corruption measures.

Furthermore, Coleman participated in a roundtable with local civil society organizations to discuss various social issues. This donation follows an earlier promise from then-Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who announced a $6 million grant from USAID to develop the northwest region of the Dominican Republic as an economic hub through nearby industries and commerce through the Port of Manzanillo. The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, supported by the governments of Canada, Germany, and the United States, aims to reduce trade barriers and streamline import and export processes, highlighting the role of trade as a key driver of economic growth and development, promoting effective public-private partnerships to achieve these objectives.

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