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The Dominican Republic is is fast becoming a good place to base a business. It's close proximity to the US and being in the same time-zone with the low cost of labour and land make it an attractive off-shore site. The government is keen to attract business people from other countries, and there are various tax advantages. The goverment has been proactive in setting up free-trade zones, where import/export tax on certain manufacturing industries are reduced or even abolished.

Find out more information from the Office of the US Trade Representative

Information on Free Zones in the Dominican Republic - http://www.cnzfe.gov.do

More information on taxes - ITBIS - http://www.dgii.gov.do/ - Industrialized Goods and Services Transfer Tax - Tax on imports (Spanish)

The Dominican Republic has also co-operated in a joint free-trade agreement with the United States and Central America in February 2006. The Dominican Republic is one of six Latin American signatories of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA-DR, which was approved in 2005. The agreement was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, but ran into a series of obstacles as different countries have had trouble passing legislation needed to implement the commitments to lower trade barriers and provide greater protection for copyrights and patents, a key U.S. demand. It is still anticipated that this agreement will complete and continue benefiting the both parties.

SPANISH INVESTMENT: US$1.36 BILLION. Over the last nine years, Spaniards have invested over US$1.364 billion in the Dominican Republic, according to the Center for Exports and Investment Executive Director Eddy Martinez, reports Listin Diario (Feb. 7, 2006). Spanish investment has concentrated on energy, construction, tourism, free zones, and finance, commerce, service, health and other sectors, said Martinez.

US$1 BILLION FOR TOURISM PROJECTS. Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez said there are plans to invest more than US$1 billion in tourism infrastructure and other tourism-related projects in 2006, reports DR1 Daily News (Feb. 7, 2006):

The work plan includes 16 actions and essential goals, that include the operation of a national airline with local and foreign investments, that would start flying as early as this summer. He said that the company would use Lufthansa aircraft. He announced the construction of a hotel in Pedernales, with French investment, and another two hotels in Barahona. He also announced the construction of a Mount Palace hotel, by the Hotelera Palace Resort of Mexico, with 1,000 rooms and a convention center in the Punta Cana area, representing an investment of more than US$170 million;

He mentioned work on the construction of the Carretera Cruce del Isleno-Macao. In May, according to the minister, work is to start on the construction of the La Romana-Punta Cana highway. For Juan Dolio he announced the construction of a water treatment plant, the aqueduct and work to improve the beach. The government has plans to invest US$15 million in improvements to the Juan Dolio and Boca Chica coastline. For Puerto Plata he announced the start of construction of a new sewage system, construction of sidewalks, and improvement of the conditions in the barrios of the southern part of the city, with an investment of US$35 million.

FRENCH CO. WINS METRO TENDER. France's Alstom Transport has won the tender for the construction of trains for the first metro line in Santo Domingo, according to the Office for the Reorganization of Transport (OPRET), reports Diario Libre (March 9, 2006). The company has reportedly done business with the Dominican state in the past. A press release said that Alstom scored 90 points as opposed to Spanish firm CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles), which scored 75.5, on the OPRET evaluation form. This gives Alstom first option to negotiate with the state for the construction and equipping of the 19 trains that will run on the first metro system line. OPRET took 40 days to evaluate the bids.

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