Dominican Republic

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France and Dominican Republic

Political relations

Bilateral relations with the Dominican Republic have picked up since President Medina’s re-election in May 2016 (see below), with the most recent discussions taking place on 12 December 2017 during the visit of the Dominican Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources for the One Planet Summit.

Visits

Main French visits to the Dominican Republic:

  • 23 October 2014: Ms George Pau-Langevin, Minister for Overseas France.
  • 26-28 October 2016: Mr Jean-Pierre Bel, Personal Envoy of the President of the French Republic for Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 8-9 February 2017: Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie.

Main Dominican visits to France:

  • Mr Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic, took part in the opening of the Paris Climate Conference (30 November 2015), accompanied by the Minister of External Relations, Mr Andrés Navarro.
  • Mr Fausto Fernandez, Deputy Minister of Tourism, participated in France’s 38th International Travel and Tourism Trade Fair, IFTM – Top Resa, held in Paris from 20 to 23 September 2016, and met with the Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
  • The Minister of External Relations, Mr Miguel Vargas Maldonado met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, on 18 April 2017.
  • The Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Francisco Dominguez-Brito, met with the Minister of State attached to the Minister of the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Ms Brune Poirson, on 12 December 2017.

Economic relations

After several years of growth, bilateral trade fell 11.6% in 2018 to total €261.4 million. France has a trade deficit with the Dominican Republic that stood at €24.4 million in 2018. France’s economic presence in the country is built more on the presence of major French companies there and occasional large contracts than on stable trade.

The Dominican Republic is France’s leading trading partner in the Caribbean, and its second-largest customer, behind Cuba. Trade with the French Communities of the Americas is growing, but still remains low (€13.3 million in 2018).

Our economic relations have developed considerably thanks to large-scale operations in the early 2000s. Orange, which acquired a local telecommunications operator in 2000, has, however, sold its stake to the Luxembourg fund Altice. The participation of French companies (Alstom, Thalès, CIM/TSO) in the construction of Santo Domingo’s first metro line in record time, from 2007 to 2009, and then of the second, showcased the expertise of our companies. Our businesses are also interested in restoring the sanitation system in several cities. Poma built the first cable-car line in Santo Domingo, which opened on 22 May 2018. In addition, Vinci has been awarded the concession and management of six of the country’s nine international airports (Aerodom). Total has a sales subsidiary for the distribution of lubricants, and a network of 130 service stations around the country.

More than 140 French companies are working in the Dominican Republic. French investments mainly concern retail (Carrefour), tourism, industry (Air Liquide, Arcelor-Mittal), transport (Air France, Air Caraïbes, XL Airways and French Blue), infrastructure (Alstom, Thalès, CIM/TSO, Poma), energy (Schneider, Legrand), pharmaceuticals (Sanofi Aventis) and real estate.

With loans totalling US$590.3 million, including US$475.1 million granted by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France is the Dominican Republic’s largest bilateral creditor, ahead of Brazil (US$489.6 million) and Spain (US$435.2 million).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France’s cooperation is based on a network which, in addition to the Embassy’s departments, includes four Alliance Française branches, a secondary school (lycée) in the capital, a school in Las Terrenas (northern Dominican Republic), a Campus France office, and an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) office.

The priorities of our cooperation are as follows:

  • Promoting the French language, which is compulsory in Dominican schools; continuous training of French teachers; development of distance training and learning programmes (opening with University of the French West Indies and Guiana (UAG) in September 2015 of a correspondence Master’s course in French as a foreign language).
  • Fostering student mobility and developing partnerships between universities: “Talents” study grants programme at second-year Master’s level, dual degrees locally, supported by new inter-university partnerships concluded in particular under the high-level university cooperation agreement signed in December 2009 (Institute of Political Studies, National School of Public Administration, Universities of Savoie, Paris, Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux, etc.). Meanwhile, the Guadeloupe Region has created some 10 study grant opportunities for Dominican students with the UAG. France supports a programme seeking to help the Dominican Republic create doctoral schools in the fields of agro-ecology, green engineering and renewable energy.

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and its subsidiary Proparco have relaunched their operations in the Dominican Republic and mainly take action in the form of loans to:

  • Promote the sustainable management of natural resources, through a local reforestation and development project in the Sierra alpine area (in the country’s north-west); a water and sanitation infrastructure improvement programme and capacity-building for the two public contractors responsible for its implementation; a credit line of €50 million for the country’s largest bank (Banco de Reservas) to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects;
  • Support the development of sustainable and inclusive cities (loan for urban transport in Santo Domingo – metro and urbanization);
  • Foster the strengthening of human capital and private-sector activities with strong social dimensions, through assistance to microfinance institutions; funding for the health care and higher education sectors; support for the banking sector (refinancing) and infrastructure construction and rehabilitation (roads in the north and centre of the country).

Lastly, the Dominican Republic participates in cooperation projects with the French Communities of the Americas in the fields of medicine, French teaching, mechanic training, and cultural and educational exchanges financed through regional cooperation funds (RCF), as well as the EU’s Interreg Caribbean programme, with the Regional Council of Guadeloupe heading its steering committee.

Updated: 26 February 2019