August 12, 2003
Translation: FTAA Secretariat
FTAA – CONSULTATIVE GROUP ON SMALLER ECONOMIESHEMISPHERE COOPERATION PROGRAM
INTERINSTITUTIONAL NEGOTIATING GROUP ON AGRICULTURE
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.
- Project title
Strengthening Negotiations on Agriculture
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.
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
- Project goals
- 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.
- 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
To know and analyze when to apply safeguard measures in response to increases in
To encourage the adoption of technological innovations for the most important
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
- Input: resources needed for the project
Technical assistance and advisory services
- 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