Feb. 4, 2015


Sadala Khoury

Dominican Republic

Sadala Khoury

President, ADOEXPO

BIO

Sadala Khoury graduated in Industrial Engineering at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) in 1988, where he also completed his studies in Management, Marketing and a Diploma in International Trade in 2007. In 2008, he was recognized by the INTEC as outstanding graduate for his good performance at the professional level. He began his business career 24 years ago in the city of Barahona, in a company dedicated to the manufacture of blocks for construction. Working hard with the entrepreneurial spirit that characterize him and keen vision, has made this company the one that today we know as Block Khoury; The Eco Block, which has become the leader in the export of materials construction to the Caribbean Islands.

What is the average profile of ADOEXPO's members and how do you attract the companies to join?

Our membership is made up of a diverse set of small, medium, and large export companies, as well as associations and federations of different export sectors of our country, including the agricultural, industrial, and services sectors. To attract these companies, we perform activities to support the sector, such as trade shows, seminars, training, lunch-conferences, and other events. These serve not only to make ADOEXPO better known, but also to promote the growth of Dominican exports. Among the benefits we offer to affiliates are the financing of services to exporters or companies with export potential through PRO-EXPORTA POPULAR, a program in partnership with Banco Popular Dominicano, which allows clients to get to know the steps involved in successfully completing the export process with specialized support, prime rate financing for the acquisition of machinery and raw materials, collection services and the transfer of international remittances.

What are the main highlights of the training program for entrepreneurs that was initiated by ADOEXPO and the National Institute of Technical Training (Infotep)?

The main objective of the interagency agreement signed in August 2014 is to strengthen and improve inductions in our ADOEXPO Training Program, through the intervention of facilitators with the kinds of advanced teaching skills that our teachers from INFOTEP have. Likewise, through this program, our members have as a facility to receive inductions in-house, for all employees in the different courses and technical careers that allow them to build capacity, improve processes, and achieve more to become more competitive entities. In principle the trainings conducted under this agreement such as the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and International Negotiation Strategies are most of interest to our membership. We have established this from the results of surveys carried out to ascertain their needs for continuous improvement of the export of goods and services. Even though the Dominican Republic is strategically located in the center of the Americas, and has signed trade agreements that provide privileged market access to the US, Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean, the country has a persistently negative balance of trade. I believe that our trade deficit is the result of several factors, including the low level of emphasis placed on the promotion of an export culture in our country. We are importing more than we export and we are a country with great potential, not only because of our climate and its fertile soil, but also because of our geographical location in the center of the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic is a member of the Association of Caribbean States, which set the development of greater trade between the nations as one of its primary goals. Has the Dominican Republic fully exploited the potential coming from this agreement?

Not really, and I think that even though Haiti is one of our major trading partners and exports some products to neighboring islands such as Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, among others, there should be more integration to facilitate trade in those markets. They have few products and as a result need to import many goods for their people. In the case of Haiti, is now done informally, with few unstable regulations for the flow of trade between the two.

What is your assessment of the current regulatory environment and what changes would you like to see in the regulatory framework that could help further export growth? How far along is the implementation of a single window for foreign trade?

Currently the incumbent government of President Danilo Medina has introduced some positive changes for export through the financing of associations of small producers of goods with export potential. We should check some regulations on trade and focus them on ensuring positive results in our trade balance. Regarding the establishment of a Single Window for Foreign Trade (VUCE) and according to what was discussed with the current Director of Dominican Customs, Mr. Fernando Fernandez, at our last lunch-conference of the General Director of Customs (DGA); the Single Window initiative is expected to be formally implemented by early 2015.

What are your main priorities as the new president of ADOEXPO for the coming two years?

During my presidency I have prioritized the training of SMEs, which account for 27% of GDP, and which represent 97% of the 600,000 Dominican companies and generate about 2.1 million jobs in our country. Second, the technical strengthening of ADOEXPO staff: in addition to our ISO 9001-2008 certification, which has greatly improved our processes, our team will receive training from partner institutions. I will also focus my efforts on the facilitation of trade in the Dominican Republic in coordination with government initiatives.

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