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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08SANTODOMINGO1269
2008-08-08 19:58:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Santo Domingo
Cable title:  

DEMARCHE DELIVERED ON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC,S TRQ

Tags:   EAGR  ETRD  ECON  DR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #1269/01 2211958
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 081958Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1263
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTO DOMINGO 001269 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR, EB/TPP/ABT
PASS TO USTR (AHEILMAN-DAHL AND DOLIVER)
STATE FOR USDA/FAS
USDA/FAS FOR BGRUNENFELDER
USDA/FAS FOR FAA\AREA OFFICER, JBAILEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2018
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON DR
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED ON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC,S TRQ
ADMINISTRATION

REF: SECSTATE 689743

Classified By: Ambassador Fannin, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador delivered reftel talking points
regarding the administration of tariff rate quotas (TRQs)
under CAFTA-DR to the Secretary of Agriculture and the
Secretary of Industry and Commerce on July 11 and August 5
respectively. The Secretary of Agriculture attributed the
late allocation of TRQs to the high volume of requesters and
denied the use of performance requirements. The Secretary of
Industry and Commerce acknowledged that there have been
problems with the administration of the TRQs and noted that
it is difficult to change the protectionist culture of the
country. Both Secretaries said they were willing to work
with the Embassy to improve the TRQ process. In a separate
meeting, the Director of the External Trade Office (DICOEX),
which is part of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, told
Econoff that the Secretary was considering making a proposal
to give DICOEX responsibility for TRQ allocations instead of
the Ministry of Agriculture. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Agriculture Secretary Jimenez attributed the late
allocation of the TRQs to the high volume of requests and the
large amounts requested which required a lengthy
administrative process. He noted that since all entities
that applied were eligible to receive allocations, the
government wanted to make sure that they made the allocations
to as many as possible. According to Jimenez, the total
amount available under the TRQs was 42,000 MT, but the amount
requested was 600,000 MT. On the issue of allocations being
given to industry associations and federations, the Secretary
said he thought it was an efficient way to make the
allocations, since it was more of an administrative hassle
for each individual member of the association to apply
separately. However, when the Ambassador noted that it was
specifically prohibited under CAFTA-DR, the Secretary agreed
to abide by the agreement. Jimenez denied that performance
requirements, such as the purchase of local products in order
to obtain a TRQ or an import permit, were used. He did not
comment on the point made about the requirement of his
signature for certain imports above the TRQ amounts.
Secretary Jimenez agreed to have his trade office work with
Embassy staff and USAID contractors to help streamline the
administration of the TRQs. Specifically, he asked that we
provide assistance in addressing the problem of the sale and
transfer of import certificates.



3. (SBU) Secretary of Industry and Commerce Paredes was
accompanied in the meeting by Pablo Espinal, the Director of
the External Trade Office (DICOEX), which is part of the
Ministry. Espinal addressed most of the issues on behalf of
the Secretary who did not seem well briefed on some of the

problems. Secretary Paredes acknowledged that the
Agriculture Ministry has had some problems and thanked the
Ambassador for bringing these issues to his attention, some
of which he had not been aware of previously. He said that
one of the reasons for the late allocation of the TRQs was
the government,s preoccupation with the damage caused by two
tropical storms in November 2007. Paredes noted that
implementation of the CAFTA-DR agreement is an ongoing
process and that his Ministry is working with Agriculture and
Customs to streamline the process in order to avoid future
problems. On the issue of allocations to industry
associations, the Secretary stated that some of the importers
granted the TRQs were not necessarily associations, but
rather it was part of the name of the company which caused
confusion. He said they would address that issue. The
Secretary also said that the government is working on
changing the methodology in order to raise the quantities
allocated so that they are commercially viable. The
Secretary commented that the country has a protectionist
culture which is difficult to change. He added that the rise
in global food prices last year, election politics and the
increased food subsidies made it even more difficult to
overcome those protectionist sentiments.



4. (C) In a separate meeting, Pablo Espinal told Econoff that
most of the problems with the Agriculture Ministry are
political, not issues that can addressed through training or
technical assistance. Espinal said that last year the TRQ
allocations were announced unilaterally by the Minister
without any consultation with the government commission that
oversees the allocation process, including the Secretary of
Industry and Commerce. He noted that this resulted in a
political fight among ministries that resulted in a meeting

at the Palace with the Administrative Secretary of the
President (similar to Chief of Staff). Espinal told Econoff
that the Minister of Industry and Commerce is considering
proposing to a change to move the TRQ allocation process to
DICOEX instead of Agriculture. He acknowledged that this
would be difficult if the Minister of Agriculture did not
agree to give up his role. Espinal commented that the
Secretary of Agriculture is more susceptible to the influence
of the agricultural sector than he is to the pressure of
meeting the obligations under CAFTA-DR.



5. (C) Comment: Despite Secretary Paredes' comments about
working with the Agriculture Ministry to improve the TRQ
process, there is clearly a disconnect between the two
ministries, with Agriculture reluctant to give up any of its
authority. The proposal to move the TRQ allocation process
to DICOEX has little to no chance of succeeding given the
Minister of Agriculture's role in overseeing all import
permits. An internal struggle over this authority would
certainly be detrimental to efforts to improve the process
and could delay the announcement of this year's allocation.
Post plans to follow up with both ministries by hosting a
joint meeting to discuss ways to improve the allocation
process including addressing the problem of selling and
trading import certificates. Post would welcome a visit by
USDA and USTR officials to reinforce the message that we are
interested in helping the GoDR to announce the TRQ
allocations in a timely manner this year. End Comment.

FANNIN