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TIME TO TALK

Dominican Republic 2014 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Pedro Pérez González, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo, on the value of public-private cooperation to boost economic development and encourage regional trade.

Pedro Pérez González
BIOGRAPHY
Pedro Pérez González was born in 1964 and graduated in Economics in 1987 from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU). He has been the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo since July 2013.

How does the business network in Santo Domingo compare with the other economic areas of the Dominican Republic, and what are its strengths?

The business network in Santo Domingo is organized, representative, and coordinated. Numerous business associations that operate throughout Greater Santo Domingo is representative in the sense of covering a wide range of sectors of the national economy. Umbrella organizations, such as the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), the Industry Association of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), the National Organization of Commercial Companies (ONEC), or our own Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production focus on particular issues in coordinating participating companies.

Who are the principal economic players in the Dominican market?

I cannot identify a small group of players that monopolize the economic activity of the country. Because today, we are approaching a genuinely democratic business environment, wherein each sector and each participant has a valid point of view, and where no one is sidelined. The process of harmonizing these diverse representative organizations is enriching the business sector.

Why is the development of a diversified economy important for the Dominican Republic?

A diversified economy ensures, as the old saying goes, that we don't put all our eggs in one basket. And thus through diversification can we counteract the fluctuations of commercial and industrial activity. The role of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production, and that of all the regional chambers that nationally comprise the Fedocámaras, or federation of chambers, is to have an even and balanced point of agreement for all members. These members come from every corner of the country and are businesses or companies of varying sizes from the full range of economic sectors. As such, the chambers of commerce and production, like that of Santo Domingo, become the ideal arena in which to discuss and make proposals regarding public policy geared toward the sustainable development of the national economy. On a daily basis, we assume such responsibility either independently, or by joining forces with the rest of the business sector in Santo Domingo, and the country at large.

How can you encourage the private sector to contribute to economic development in Santo Domingo?

As everyone in the country recognizes, this collaboration is indispensable, and without it we would become divided and end up in an endless struggle between public and private sector interests. Indeed, through the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production, we provide critical support and collaborate efficiently with every public sector initiative, starting, for example, with the Company Register and the SMEs program, recently favored by the national authorities. Another example of this public-private collaboration is the setting up of the Single Window, through which to reduce costs and facilitate the establishment of new companies.

What are the main business opportunities that Santo Domingo is providing to companies?

The Dominican Republic is situated in a privileged and strategic geographic position in terms of the Caribbean and Central America. However, we should recognize that we haven't made the most of our potential in this sense, perhaps because we haven't been capable of overcoming an island mentality. However, we seem more aware of these advantages today, which is evident from the major investments that have converted our ports into regional hubs. We also have examples of industries that have successfully penetrated international markets. However, our potential is much greater, and in this sense it is necessary for the public and private sectors to unite in designing and implementing a strategy that allows us to take advantage of our location.


 

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