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2009 Economic Growth Forecast for the Dominican Republic - ECLAC April 1, 2009

Source: Economic Condition for the Latin America and the Caribbean

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are predicting that the DR economy will grow this year, despite the current economic difficulties. ECLAC expects the DR to post a GDP growth of 1.5%, the same as Panama, Guatemala and Honduras, while Nicaragua (1%) and El Salvador (0.5%) are also on the plus side list. Costa Rica is expected to show negative growth. In the report, "Facing the crisis: Central American Isthmus and Dominican Republic: Economic Development 2008 and Prospects for 2009," ECLAC economists say that the final outcome will depend on the success of measures taken by each nation to deal with the present global economic crisis. 

Igor Paunovic, head of ECLAC's economic development unit, warns about a reduction in exports due to "a contraction in external demand" that is especially evident in the United States where preliminary data reveals that the trade balance in January 2009 registered a 25% decrease compared to January 2009. The IMF said that the DR's economy would grow during the next two years. In its report on economic prospects, the international organization pointed out that the Caribbean region as a whole is suffering from the reduction in the prices of raw materials and thereby a reduction in the value of exports. 
Other negative factors that affect the Dominican Republic are the weakening of tourism and the decrease in remittances from emigrants in the United States and Europe. 

World Bank on business reforms:
The Dominican Republic has been singled out as one of ten nations that have pushed through the greatest number of reforms in 2008 in order to create a better climate for investments and business, according to the indicators reported by the International Financial Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank. Economic, Planning and Development Minister Temistocles Montas received the recognition for the country in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday. Montas listed the institutional reforms and economic policies put into place by the Fernandez administration. At the event, he warned nevertheless, that despite the recognition "we are not yet a country with the best policies." He assured his audience that "we are learning, adapting and adopting these good practices". Montas said that the recognition "that distinguished us as one of the countries that have best reformed its business practices encourages the country to continue doing its homework to convert the Dominican Republic into a competitive space for businesses." 

Among the practices that Montas mentioned was the reduction of the timeframe needed for registering a business, which he said was reduced from 107 days to 60 days, a 44% reduction. He also mentioned important changes in the payment of taxes, customs clearances, and trans-border business.