The Dominican Republic has experienced more than 20 years of steady growth, which is uncommon in Latin America. Our location is also a significant advantage. Many companies prefer to locate in the Dominican Republic because of the connection that we have to the US, Europe, Central America, and South America. I would also add to this that we have had more than 30 years of stable democracy. The Dominican Republic has witnessed smooth transitions of power between elected governments, and it has avoided the conditions that led to conflict in our country's past. Companies can find the facilities they need here. In addition, human capital is also improving as the Dominican youth become more knowledgeable and have greater access to information. One of the challenges that we confront as a country is the legal framework. It is important that we demonstrate that our laws and regulations are well defined and there are no surprises.
Salvador J. Demallistre B.
Executive Director, ASIEX
María Isabel Gassó
The Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production (CCPSD) is one of 30 chambers around the country. There is one in every province, and the role of the CCPSD is to give life to corporations and to register foreign companies that do not have an entity in the Dominican Republic. Everyone has the right to be present as a legal entity in the Dominican Republic doing business, even if you are not a Dominican national. That is very important, and all of that is facilitated in every chamber of commerce across the country. Three years ago we embarked on a huge project to make the mercantile registry into an online system that allows users to come online, complete an application form, and submit it to the CCPSD. It operates with unique digital signature technology and allows the quick registration of companies. Our challenge is to roll our system out across the entire country by the end of 2012, with the same characteristics we have here.
Kary Van Der Horst
Executive Director, ADOEXPO
The year 2011 was very good, and we have grown a lot since 2009. That was the year that exports went down in quantity and value because of the global economic crisis. In 2010, we stood up again, exports increased, and in 2011 we saw important growth because we grew not only in quantity, but also as a source of dollars. Before, the economy had four pillars: tourism, remittances, free zones, and exports. Now, exports are second only to remittances as a source of dollars. Exports are important because, unlike the dollars earned from free zones, which are generated by companies that are established here by foreign investors, the dollars that come into the Dominican Republic through exports stay here. As a result, exports are a very important pillar of the economy right now. They grew more than 20% in 2011. We began exporting minerals again, which had stopped—especially ferronickel because of international commodity prices. Now, we have started again, the mining sector is growing once more, and it is a very important part of the economy.
Andrés Van Der Horst
Executive Director, National Competitiveness Council (CNC)
One of the top priorities of the Systemic National Competitiveness Plan is to establish a better and more attractive environment for investors; in order to achieve that, we changed the country's commercial code. In regards to this, we reformed the law on the establishment of corporations, making it more transparent and efficient as well as quicker to set up a company in the country. That gave us international recognition from the most respectable institutions, and I believe that has been the key in praising our work in terms of investor protection. At the same time, we have to keep in mind that the Dominican Republic is not declining in international rankings on competitiveness due to the lack of certain things, but because of the fierce and aggressive competitiveness among emerging countries. In fact, one of the latest reports from the World Bank's Doing Business unit says that the Dominican Republic is among the top-10 countries in terms of reforms and attractiveness in the 2005-2013 period. Overall, we work to keep improving yearly FDI figures.