The Business Year

Winston Dookeran

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Diplomacy

A Caribbean Handshake

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Bio

Winston Dookeran, a Member of Parliament and Minister of Foreign Affairs has also held the office of Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on several occasions. Born in 1943 in Rio Claro, he holds a baccalaureate degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Manitoba, Canada, and a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, UK. In 1965 he was elected President of the University of Manitoba Student Union. A widely published academic, he is a specialist on Caribbean economic development, economics, and finance, having penned several books and numerous articles in professional journals such as the Economist and Latin Finance.

How would you assess the bilateral relations between the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, and what is their scope? Relations between Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic have […]

How would you assess the bilateral relations between the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, and what is their scope?

Relations between Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic have been cordial, with diplomatic relations officially established in May of 1968. Trinidad and Tobago has an Honorary Consul in the Dominican Republic in the person of Dr. Freddy Reyes. Among several high level meetings down the years, HE Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic, met with the Honorable Kamla Persad-Bissessar Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, on 27 May 2013, for the Multilateral Meeting between Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and of the Dominican Republic and the Vice President, where they engaged in discussions on matters related to, inter alia, regional security, trade, human and social development, and energy.

The Dominican Republic recently received a trade mission from Trinidad and Tobago with 11 manufacturing and energy companies willing to expand their business operations in the country. What key investment opportunities does the Dominican Republic provide for Trinidad and Tobago?

Trinidad and Tobago companies have undertaken cross-border investments in the Dominican Republic. Two such groups are Republic Bank and Prestige Holdings. In addition, the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT) has issued short-term funding to assist in purchasing equipment for hospitals and clinics. Trinidad and Tobago has a growing manufacturing sector, which includes food and beverages, electrical materials, construction materials, paper, and packaging products. Companies such as SM Jaleel, Angostura Ltd, TYE Manufacturing and Bermudez Biscuits Ltd are expanding globally, and the Dominican Republic can provide a market for their products. The energy sector is also a possible opportunity for investment in the Dominican Republic. Trinidad and Tobago currently exports liquefied natural gas, liquefied propane, liquefied butane, urea, and gas oil to the Dominican Republic and can explore further energy products to export.

Trinidad and Tobago is a leading producer of oil and gas from which Dominican Republic imports account for $500 million per year. With the Dominican economy and demographics on the rise, how do you foresee the future of collaboration in this chapter?

It has been previously indicated that the Dominican Republic spends a considerable amount annually importing oil and gas. Around 20% of national petroleum imports are provided by PETROCARIBE. And as demand for energy products continues to grow, Trinidad and Tobago is discussing with the Dominican Republic the question of the supply of natural gas or any other energy products it may require, to meet the rising demand.

Dominican sugar molasses exports to Trinidad and Tobago accounted for $6 million in 2012, being the main product exported. What other areas in trade are important for both countries?

Gravel, sand, cement clinkers, fertilizers, and canned soups are the other top imports from the Dominican Republic. Bananas are also imported from the Dominican Republic to Trinidad and Tobago. Energy products such as liquefied natural gas, liquefied propane, liquefied butane, urea, and gas oil are imported to the Dominican Republic from Trinidad and Tobago.

The Dominican Republic has a strong tourism sector, while Trinidad and Tobago is looking to further diversify its economy and increase tourism. What are the opportunities being opened within this mutual cooperation?

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has targeted tourism as an area for development and expansion as a means of diversifying the economy away from oil and gas. Furthermore, the many beautiful beaches and waterfalls, biodiversity, and infrastructure make Trinidad and Tobago a potential hotspot for recreational tourism, event tourism, and ecotourism.

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