On November 16, representatives of private sector associations from Haiti and the Dominican Republic met virtually for the fifth time over the past 17 months to advance a number of cross-border cooperation initiatives.
The United States convened the meeting, which included both U.S. Ambassadors, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Haiti, Canada, and the Caribbean, and other State Department officials. Participants discussed progress on pledges to ethical trade practices and trade facilitation. Participants also highlighted the importance of implementing a 2017 information sharing agreement between the Haitian and Dominican Customs authorities, which would help reduce the level of contraband crossing the border, a priority issue for both nations. Representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank provided a conceptual framework to help identify and understand the infrastructure, technology, communication, and logistical tools required to modernize procedures for commercial trade along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. Haitian and Dominican representatives also conveyed their appreciation for the United States government’s extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).
Thanks to U.S. trade preferences, the Dominican Republic and Haiti have built a robust system of textile co-production throughout the island which currently supports over 40,000 direct jobs in the Dominican Republic and over 50,000 in Haiti, preserves U.S. textile industry jobs, ensures promotion of more open markets, and strengthens our overall trade relationships, including through the provision of medical personal protective equipment to the U.S. market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group reaffirmed their commitment to transform the shared border into an engine for economic prosperity for the Haitian and Dominican people.