Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA


Trade Negotiations

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August 12, 2003

Original: Spanish
Translation: FTAA Secretariat





With the Dominican Republic’s participation in multilateral, hemispheric, and bilateral agreements (WTO, FTAA, FTA with Central America, and CARICOM), the country’s agricultural sector has become involved in trade negotiations. This involvement has led the sector to recognize that it must strengthen its technical, institutional, and financial negotiating capacity, if it is to fulfill the many commitments assumed under these agreements.

Driven by these agreements, trade liberalization has led to an increase in global trade, with the entry of products at all levels. With this in mind, the Dominican Republic has attempted to analyze the impact of imports and exports of these products on the country and its productive sectors.

This also reveals the need for the Dominican Republic to promote emerging crops that have export potential, so that it can compete in the markets of the countries of the hemisphere and thereby counteract the increase in imports of agricultural products precipitated by freer trade.

Another factor to consider is strengthening agricultural negotiations by providing technical training and increasing the number of skilled negotiators, so that the Dominican Republic can compete and better prepare itself to face the challenges that will soon be upon us.

  1. Project title

    Strengthening Negotiations on Agriculture

  2. Background

    In 1994, the Dominican Republic signed the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO), and, along with 34 countries in the hemisphere, the commitment to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

    After these agreements were signed, the Dominican agriculture sector felt the need to study the way in which it was being affected by trade liberalization. As a result of these studies, the Dominican Republic changed the principal agricultural products that were on its list of concessions in the WTO.

    The agriculture sector continued to participate in negotiations held in the framework of the WTO Agriculture Committee, as stipulated in Article 20 of the WTO Agreements on Agriculture. Furthermore, it began participating in FTAA negotiations and engaged in negotiations of the free trade agreements it signed with Central America and CARICOM.

    For all the aforementioned reasons, there is a growing need within the sector to conduct impact and competitiveness studies and enhance the sector’s technical negotiating capacity, so that it is able to meet the challenges brought about by freer markets and new agreements.

  3. Rationale

    The agriculture sector is a very important and sensitive branch of the Dominican economy, both in its contribution to GDP and as a source of, inter alia, employment in rural areas, income, and food security.

    The sector’s participation in these negotiations is vitally important if it is to secure better outcomes for Dominican agriculture.

    In addition, the Dominican Republic must now find market niches and modernize the structure of the agricultural sector, by streamlining its productive model and introducing new technology, to adapt and respond positively so as to draw down the benefits of the commitments it has assumed internationally.

    Because of the rapid pace at which the country has begun participating in negotiating forums, we have not been able to create a large team of career negotiators. Consequently, we need to improve, enlarge, and train our technical negotiating team, so that the country can be better able to participate in the various negotiating forums, and thus achieve better results that benefit the entire country.

  4. Project goals

    1. Overall goal

      • To design policy measures capable of mitigating the negative impact of agricultural imports on national production

      • To promote production and exports of emerging crops

      • To train and increase the size of the Dominican Republic’s technical negotiating team on agriculture.

    2. Specific goals:

      • To analyze the productive potential of new crops and identify which products can be immediately traded free of tariffs, which ones to protect, and their impact following liberalization
      • To know and analyze when to apply safeguard measures in response to increases in agricultural imports
      • To encourage the adoption of technological innovations for the most important crops
      • To form a team of 20 experts, including both negotiators and specialists, to conduct studies and analyze strategies and frame policy for the purpose of agricultural trade negotiations
  5. Input: resources needed for the project

    Financial resources
    Technical assistance and advisory services

  6. Expected results
    • Technical team of 20 negotiators who have been trained to participate knowledgably and ably in the various negotiating fora and who are best able to defend the agricultural interests of the Dominican Republic
    • Accurate information for decision-making and use in negotiating processes
    • An intelligence unit for agricultural negotiations
    • Studies for identifying the export potential of emerging crops and the quantity of new crops that can be promoted and incorporated into national production
    • Mechanisms for dealing with massive imports of agricultural products and how they affect the production of our products
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