Dominican Republic, India look to strengthen ties

Santo Domingo, Apr 28 (EFE).- The Dominican Republic and India held here Friday a business forum coinciding with the first-ever visit to the Caribbean nation by an Indian foreign minister.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, who arrived in Santo Domingo from Colombia on a Latin American tour that took him earlier to Guyana and Panama, began his remarks at the gathering by highlighting the economic dynamism of India, which is forecast to enjoy growth of 6.1 percent this year.

He said that the giant South Asian nation is engaged in a “conscious intensification of our relationship with Latin America.”

“And I would say that in many ways business is leading the way,” Jaishankar said. “So this is very much therefore a diplomatic trip, it is a political trip, but also of course it is a business trip.”

The minister noted that the value of India’s annual trade with Latin America is roughly $50 billion, about half the level of Indian commerce with Europe or with Southeast Asia.

“There is already some traction in the business field, so I think the challenge for us today is how to scale that up, how to intensify it, how to expand the domains of cooperation,” Jaishankar said.

Trade between India and the Dominican Republic is concentrated in pharmaceuticals, steel, gold, and paper, he said, while pointing out that a number of Indian companies have established operations in the Caribbean country.

“We expect that in many areas, more trade will also translate into greater investment. There are many businesses where it makes sense to have local production,” Jaishankar said.

The Dominican foreign minister, Roberto Alvarez, spoke of “great opportunities” for growth in bilateral trade, which reached $1 billion in 2021, and in investment.

India’s principal industries, he said, “are sufficiently solid to develop large-scale projects on Dominican territory” in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals to information technology to textiles.

“We hope to see Indian companies consider the Dominican Republic their port of entry to the Americas,” Alvarez said.

Ahead of the forum, the Dominican National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation.

Soon after arriving, Jaishankar met with Dominican President Luis Abinader, and the two men “discussed our increasing political contacts, growing economic and commercial relations, business cooperation, capacity building, and people-to-people ties,” the Indian official said.

EFE mf-mmv/dr

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