World Cocoa Conference to be held in Punta Cana

Cocoa and chocolate experts from all around the world will be gathering in Punta Cana for the World Cocoa Conference from 22-25 May 2016. The leading event for the cocoa and chocolate sector brings together the major players from the value chain. The Dominican Republic is a world leader in cocoa production, now gradually beginning to produce chocolate, too.

More than 1,500 cocoa farmers, chocolate makers, government and private sector farming and sustainability experts are expected to attend the event from over 40 countries. This is the first time the event will have been held in Latin America.

The event is being organized by the International Cocoa Organization and the Ministry of Agriculture and National Cocoa Commission are hosting the event for the Dominican Republic. The agenda includes discussions for the Cacao Global Agenda.

Information on adding value to cocoa, including differentiation, specialty products and branding will be discussed. The issues of improving cocoa farmers and improving farmer incomes, and finance and insurance solutions to manage risk across the value chain are also on the program.

[February 2016]

57% taxes are from consumers

The Tax Agency (DGII) reports that 57% of their revenue comes from consumer taxes and 43% from income taxes in 2015. DGII contributed 73% of taxes to the government, with Customs providing 22% and Treasury 5%. Consumer tax revenue was up 3% compared to 2014, as reported in Diario Libre.

[February 2016]

7.7% increase in travelers for January 2016

In January 2016 there were 36,995 more arrivals than in January 2015, according to the Central Bank. A total of 519,977 non-resident visitors arrived, with 89.5% foreigners and 10.5% non-resident Dominicans. This is a 7.7% increase over non-resident arrivals for the same month in 2015.

Foreigners increased 6.7%, with 465,229 arrivals. The Dominican Republic is the most visited Caribbean island. 58% of tourists to the Dominican Republic come from North America (US, Canada and Mexico), mainly from the United States. Tourists from Europe make up 25.1% of non-resident arrivals and South America 14.1%.

[February 2016]

Telcoms announce RD$18.2 billion investments

The three leading telecommunications operators in the Dominican Republic have announced investments worth more than RD$18.2 billion for 2016. The Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) says that new companies could enter the sector, as well as the sale or merger of other companies.

The Altice Group, which operates both Orange and Tricom has just announced investments worth RD$6.2 billion for the expansion of the companies and the improvement of the quality of service and infrastructure. At the same time, Claro reported that it has more than RD$12 billion for 2016 investments. The government has also forecast a series of initiatives that will expand telecommunications into new areas, thus reducing the digital gap and improving the quality of service nationwide.

[February 2016]

Dominican Republic promotes hydrocarbon exploration

Dominican Republic will facilitate 12,690 linear kilometers (7,885 miles) of 2D seismic lines, in an undeveloped territory with no concession, for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon, to investors interested in the local energy industry, according to the minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Isa Conde.

The National Hydrocarbons Database is expected to be concluded by the first trimester of the year, where technical reports on oil basins, especially geological, geophysical and cultural studies, and a petroleum system model basin for Enriquillo, San Juan, Azua and the eastern plains will be available for consultation.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines announced that the exploration of hydrocarbon in the country will now be based on tenders, aiming for a more transparent and efficient process. The bidding process will be organized as soon as the multinational Schlumberger Surenco concludes the compilation of the National Hydrocarbons Database.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines is drafting the regulation of exploration and exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons and, with the support of OLADE and Canadian cooperation funds, will establish safety regulations governing industrial and environmental potential hydrocarbon production activities in the country.

Also, the Ministry is drafting the model contracts and terms of reference of the process that will be launch in the first quarter of 2016 to assign exploration blocks.

The winner of the tender may start researching the Bahía de Ocoa, Azua, Elías Piña, San Juan de la Maguana, Barahona and other southern provinces, as well as at the platform of San Pedro de Macorís and the eastern part of the Cibao region.

[February 2016]

Spanish tourism training center opens in Santo Domingo

The Centro Superior Hostelería Mediterráneo (CSHM) opened in Santo Domingo. The vocational training center will offer courses in tourism, gastronomy, hotel industry and agribusiness. CSHM international development director Angel Campillo said that the first branch of the Spanish training center is a RD.5 million investment. The first phase of the center is expected to cost RD0 million and the total project RD5 million.

The center, which will train local tourism sector workers, also strives to improve the quality of meals served in public schools as well as promoting Dominican farm products and gastronomy in Santo Domingo.

A second branch is being built in Ensanche Isabelita, in Santo Domingo East. The first CSHM branch covers an area of 650 meters and the Isabelita branch will measure 3,000 meters.

CSHM has more than 60,000 students from 47 countries around the world in its centers in Spain and the Dominican Republic.

[February 2016]

Guzmán Ariza joins Geneva Group International

Guzmán Ariza expanded its global reach by recently being selected as member of the prestigious association Geneva Group International (GGI) as exclusive representative in the Dominican Republic. GGI is one of the top ten global alliances of well-established and experienced law, accounting and consulting firms, with presence in 118 countries.

GGI membership will allow Guzmán Ariza to assist clients more effectively in international transactions. Through GGI the firm will have access to experts around the world who are able to give advice on local regulations, compliance and go-to-market strategies, in nearly every major financial and commercial centre worldwide.

[February 2016]