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Politics holds up trade talks with Haiti

Minister of Industry and Commerce Jose del Castillo Savinon has not given up hope of a change of Haiti’s policy to ban the overland imports of 23 consumer products in effect since 1 October 2015. He says, however, that it is unlikely that talks on the issue, which started on 13 October 2015 at a meeting between President Michel Martelly and President Danilo Medina, will resume until the post-electoral confusion in Haiti comes to and end. “It has to be understood that the conditions are not in place for us to go to Haiti and continue the talks,” he said, as reported in Diario Libre.

Elections in Haiti were held at the end of October. The final results are expected on Thursday 12 November. Jovenel Moise, who is Michel Martelly and his party’s candidate, received 32% of the vote in the first round and Jude Celestin obtained 25%, according to the preliminary results.

Speaking at a press conference, Lapeh party candidate Celestin described the first round results as a ridiculous farce and said they did not reflect the actual votes of the people.

Castillo made the comments following up on the Haitian government ban on cross-border imports of the most commonly purchased goods. The Haitian government has only been allowing these imports to enter via sea or air, reportedly in order to have better control over customs taxation.

As reported recently in Le Nouvelliste, Haiti’s Economy and Finance Minister Wilson Laleau says that the entry by sea and air of the 23 products has enabled the government to collect millions more in gourdes. According to Laleau, Haiti has received an additional US$26.4 million in October this year since it banned some Dominican products from entering via the land border. He added that the Haitian authorities are hoping to gain a twelvefold increase in customs’ duties by the end of the year as a result.

Laleau stated that the ban had achieved its aims as in October they received 5.9 billion gourdes which is US$111.3 million dollars, which was US$26.4 million more than in October last year. He went on to say that each year they collected around 2.2 billion gourdes at the border, some US$41.5 million and with the ban on the 23 products by land the Haitian treasury expects to receive at least one billion gourdes more.

Del Castillo said that Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo and the Haitian Minister of Tourism were assigned the task of continuing the discussions that began on 13 October 2015.

Nevertheless, in its Tuesday, 10 November 2015 issue, Diario Libre reports that hundreds of Haitians and Dominicans were allowed to trade freely during the Monday, 9 November 2015 market day.

Source: DR1, DiarioLibre

Nov 10, 2015

Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 22, 2017 at 1:17 AM
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