France and Dominican Republic

Presentation

Political relations

Bilateral relations with France were particularly intense between 2009 and 2011, during which time several agreements were signed (academic cooperation, transport and tourism). They have picked up again 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 in Paris.

Visits

Main French visits to the Dominican Republic:

  • 15-16 August 2012: Mr Victorin Lurel, Minister for Overseas France.
  • 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 Mariano Ray Guevara, President of the Constitutional Court, received by the Constitutional Council and the Conseil d’État, 25 September 2012.
  • Mr Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic, participating 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 the France’s 38th International Travel and Tourism Trade Fair, IFTM – Top Resa, held in Paris on 20-23 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, M 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

France has a trade deficit with the Dominican Republic that stood at €9.374 million in 2016. 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.

France is the Dominican Republic’s 15ᵗʰ-largest trading partner and 7ᵗʰ-largest investor. 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 remains low (€13.1 million in 2015).

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 Luxembourgish 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, was an opportunity to showcase the expertise of our companies. Our businesses are also interested in restoring the sanitation system in several cities. Poma is currently building a cable-car line in Santo Domingo. In addition, Vinci has been awarded the concession and management of six of the country’s nine international airports (Aerodom).

More than 140 French companies are working in the Dominican Republic. French investments mainly concern retail (Carrefour), tourism (Club Méditerranée), 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.

For more information, please consult: http://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/se/republique-dominicaine

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France’s cooperation is based on a network which, in addition to the Embassy’s departments, includes five Alliances Françaises, 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, with almost 4,300 students in the country’s five Alliances Françaises; continuous training in these Alliances of 450 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 teaching French as a foreign language, which is being followed by 17 French teachers; and the creation in March 2014 of a “French online” learning module in liaison with the Alliance Française in Santo Domingo and the International Centre for Educational Studies-CIEP).
  • fostering student mobility and the development of 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 University of the French West Indies and French Guiana (UAG). A Priority Solidarity Fund project has been implemented to support academic exchanges and the creation of partnerships between French and Dominican higher education establishments (French National Institute of Applied Sciences – INSA – Rouen, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Lille II University).

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

  • protecting and developing natural resources: support for the coffee sector, reforestation and development in mountain regions;
  • regional and urban development (loan for urban transport in Santo Domingo – metro and urbanization);
  • support for the private sector: supporting microfinance institutions; funding health care and higher education sectors (student loans); supporting the banking sector (refinancing) and building and refurbishing infrastructure (roads in the north and centre of the country).

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

Updated: 20 December 2017

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