History of Relations Between China and Dominican Republic
As you have probably heard, China and the Dominican Republic signed the diplomatic relations on May 1, 2018. The Caribbean nation cut the diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a known rival of China, that has been enjoying the support and protection of the USA for several decades now. Thus, the Dominican government gave the official status to the longtime trade and cultural relations with the Asian giant.
If we look at the trade volume between the two countries, it has been steadily growing since 2010. The main products that the Dominican Republic imports from China are motorcycles, vehicles, electronic devices, footwear, textiles, machinery, and equipment. While the main products that the Dominican Republic exports to China are minerals, waste paper and cardboard, and animal skin. So signing the diplomatic relations was a logical step formalizing the commercial processes that have been enriching the country’s economy.
Moreover, the Dominican Republic has held 7 editions of Dominican Republic-People’s Republic of China Trade Exposition, during which Chinese companies signed contracts in automobile, electronic, construction, medical, and consumer goods. 6 Chinese companies participated in the government’s tendering for the construction of 2 carbon plants Punta Catalina. And one of them, Gezhouba Group, even got to the finals.
Furthermore, the Chinese community in the Dominican Republic forms one of the largest Chinese communities in Latin America. Although no official census has been made, there are estimates of approximately 50,000 people of Chinese origin living in the country. Besides, Santo Domingo’s Chinatown is one of the city’s main tourist attractions. It includes around 500-700 Chinese restaurants and other small stores.
Future Of the Relations Between China and Dominican Republic
Chinese companies have big plans for the Dominican Republic. The expanded investment and loan-funded projects are likely to principally occur in mining, construction, electricity (wind and solar generation), manufacturing (assembly of Chinese goods for export to the US) and retail.
Some of them include a waste incineration plant and a gas plant at a cost of US$270 million; a multifunctional water resource and hydraulic project in river of Yuna of US$350 million, and a project of 10,000 low-cost houses for US$200 million, which is in total US$820 million of investment. This new chapter could bring much-needed economic opportunities to the country, where one out of three Dominicans is still fighting poverty and where youth unemployment is about double the overall jobless rate.
Additionally, the Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) announced its interest in the Puerto Plata and Samana ports where they would invest US$2 billion dollars to develop a free trade zone and a commercial terminal for trading goods directly with China. Then the good can be exported to the US market taking advantage of the Central American Free Trade accord.
But most importantly, the Dominican Tourism Department aspires to attract 7% of 31 million Chinese travelling to the North America or around 3 million per year. The Dominican Republic is updating its tourism industry and contacting partners, investors and Chinese tour operators to get ready for receiving mass Chinese visitors. As part of this program, visa and other restrictions will be eliminated to attract more tourists and investors to the country.
To conclude, the diplomatic decision to forge a new official partnership with China promises several billions of investment. It is expected to bring more tourists to the Dominican beautiful beaches, improve the infrastructure, increase the export volume and further develop mining, construction and energy.