The Business Year

José Antonio Meade

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Diplomacy

A Two-way Door

Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mexico

Bio

José Antonio Meade holds a degree in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, another in law from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and a PhD in economics from Yale University. His experience in public service is varied and extensive, where he has served as Secretary of Housing and Public Credit, Secretary of Energy, General Director of the National Bank for Rural Credit (BANRURAL), and General Director of Financial Planning on the National Commission for Pensions and Savings (CONSAR), among other positions.

What are the priorities of the foreign affairs policy of Mexico regarding the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region? One of the five strategic pillars of President Peña Nieto’s administration […]

What are the priorities of the foreign affairs policy of Mexico regarding the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region?

One of the five strategic pillars of President Peña Nieto’s administration is the positioning of Mexico as a relevant actor of global responsibility, while strengthening the country’s position as a significant regional player and deepening the ongoing regional integration processes. Within this context is the expansion of dialogue and cooperation on disaster management, the environment, regional security, trade and investment, tourism, and cultural development with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico shares historical roots, geography, and culture with the Caribbean, and we aspire to higher levels of development and prosperity for our people, in addition to which there is a long tradition of solidarity and sympathy that has strengthened over time. As part of the diversification of the economic policies of Mexico, an important aspect of our relationship with the Caribbean is trade and Mexican investment in the Dominican Republic, which has become our largest trading partner in the region, as evidenced by the increase in bilateral trade over the past decade of 128% from $447.7 million to $1.014 billion, a period in which Dominican exports grew by 677%, while those of Mexico grew by 105%. Additionally, the Dominican Republic has become the fourth most important destination for Mexican investment in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an estimated $6.8 billion, becoming one of the leading investors in the Dominican Republic, contributing to the country’s social and economic development with the creation of over 15,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs. Furthermore, we share a comprehensive program of technical-scientific and educational-cultural cooperation, particularly in the agricultural, SME, health, governance, socio-economic development, environment, and scholarship areas, among others. This exchange in terms of artistic and cultural exhibitions is also relevant and permanent.

How can Mexico and the Dominican Republic benefit from each other’s geostrategic location?

The recent incorporation of the Dominican Republic as an observer of the Pacific Alliance provides an opportunity for this country to enter one of the most dynamic trading blocs today and benefit from greater cooperation in natural disaster programs, strengthening trade and business opportunities and supporting SMEs, among others. Mexico expects to begin negotiations with Dominican authorities aimed at reaching an agreement on Bilateral Free Trade and one for the Avoidance of Double Taxation, and to conclude the negotiation of the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments in the near future, convinced that these tools provide greater certainty and attract even more Mexican investors who are keen to participate in the development of the Dominican Republic. Moreover, these tools could increase trade flows in both directions, particularly when you take into account that our country is an attractive market for over 115 million people speaking the same language. We currently have trade volumes with the world exceeding $750 billion, while commodities produced by Mexican industry would allow Dominican producers to be more competitive in markets to where they have traditionally exported.

How can both countries benefit from deeper cooperation in agriculture?

The experience Mexico has in these areas is shared with the Dominican Republic through specific cooperation projects in agriculture and promoting SMEs, which in turn contributes to the socio-economic development of the Dominican Republic. Mexico has supported and will continue to collaborate on diagnostic, crop improvement, and transfer of agricultural technology and biotechnology projects. However, it is considered appropriate to take the bilateral agricultural agreement to exploit the potential of the two economies and develop the potential of the Dominican agricultural sector. Mexico has thanked the Dominican government for the distinction of our country being chosen as First Guest of Honor at the First 2013 SME Week, in recognition of the Mexican strategy in this area and the 13-year history of SME weeks in our country. In effect, the Government of Mexico has shared its experience with Dominican SMEs in order to help them mature and become larger companies that can be integrated into the supply chains and become relevant exporters, contributing also to the creation of more job opportunities, as well as boosting the economic and overall national development. Cooperation activities between Mexico and the Dominican Republic have targeted, particularly in recent years, the competitive development of exporting companies and incubators, as well as programs for the employment of disabled people and practices to improve competitiveness.

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