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Dominican Republic Free Zones: 50 Years of Global Business Excellence

President Danilo Medina recognizes contributions of companies and operators of industrial parks who have helped make the DR one of the hottest economies in the Latin American/Caribbean Region (LAC)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Aug. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Global business in the Dominican Republic just celebrated a major milestone.

On Monday, August 12, 2019, the Free Zones of the Dominican Republic celebrated its 50th Anniversary. A gala celebration held at the Salon las Cariátides of the National Palace, was headed by the President of the Republic, Mr. Danilo Medina. The event honored the Free Zones leading companies, operators of industrial parks, and drivers of the sector.

The Dominican Republic's Free Zones operates 74 industrial parks which are home to 705 companies spread across 26 of the 32 provinces, generating more than 175,000 direct jobs and approximately 200,000 indirect jobs. Over the course of 50 years, the Dominican Republic's free zone program has evolved enormously, diversifying not only processes and sectors, but also export markets. Today, this globally recognized free zone system stands out in the Latin America/Caribbean region (LAC) for its leadership position in generating jobs, attracting company investments, and generating exports.

"The National Council of Free Zones of the Dominican Republic, and the significant strides it has made over five decades in operation, are made possible in large part by the strength of the public-private alliance. This collaboration has enabled us to make better decisions faster. CNZFE alongside our private sector partners has played a substantial role in the growth of the Dominican Republic's economy and we'd like to thank the companies and corporate executives who have placed their trust in us," said Ms. Luisa Fernández, Executive Director of the National Council of Free Zones.

The collaboration Ms. Fernandez is referencing is anchored by its connection to the private sector. The free zones private sector is represented by the Dominican Free Zones Association (ADOZONA), which for the past 31 years has been working in coordination with the Government, identifying and promoting initiatives in support of the development of the free zones.

"We make better decisions together and our Country's collective success is a testament to our strong partnerships. As Global markets continue to evolve, the competition to attract corporate investment among locations continues to increase. Our collaborative environment has never been more valuable," said José Manuel Torres, Executive Vice President of the Dominican Republic Free Zone Association (ADOZONA).

Underpinned by the strength and success of its Free Zones network, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, averaging 5.1 percent annually between 2008 and 2018, the second highest in LAC, a pace which accelerated to an average of 6.6 percent per year between 2014 and 2018 -- and 7 percent in 2018, the highest growth rate in the Latin American/Caribbean region (LAC).

The return on investment in the Free Zones has been significant for the Dominican Republic. It is estimated that companies that participate in the Free Zones provide an economic impact that is 10 times higher than the incentives extended to them. For every RD$1 granted to corporations in incentives, the Free Zones in turn provide RD $10 to the national economy, with a net benefit to the Dominican economy of USD $4.5 billion annually.

The Free Zones investment in human capital and workforce development also has had a tremendous impact on the Dominican workforce. INFOTEP, the National Institute of Technical Professional Training, has trained 770,914 workers in different competencies and fields via over 49,000 courses and more than 1.2 million training hours since 1992.

The economic output recorded by the free zones has resulted in a net positive creation of formal jobs, currency generation, attraction of foreign capital and technology transfer to the Dominican Republic.

50th Anniversary Gala Recognizes DR Global Business Leaders and Employees

At the 50th Anniversary celebration on August 12th, President Medina recognized business leaders who operate in the Free Zones who have made great contributions to the local economy. These included the companies Tabacalera de García and Brideshore , both located in the La Romana Industrial Park, for celebrating 50 years of uninterrupted operations in the country.

Other companies recognized for their long history operating within Free Zones included Articulos de Piel Los Favoritos, Caribex Dominicana, Fuente Cigar, Hanesbrands, Productos del Tropico, Miniking Togs, Neo Industries and Sewn Products. Cutler & Hammer, a subsidiary of Eaton Corporation, and Intellisys, were also recognized for their innovation in transforming the production processes of their sector.

Companies recognized for their support in the strengthening and development of supply chains within the Free Zones sector included Notions Dominicana, Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos, Articulos de Piel Los Favoritos, Atlantic Caribbean Packaging, Bojos Tanning, EG Industries, Hilos A&E, Impresora del Yaque, Plasticos Multiform, and Technical Precision Plastics Dominicana.

Also, the President recognized the Corporacion Zona Franca Santiago, multinational corporations Hanesbrands and Gildan, as well as a leather company, Articulos de Piel Los Favoritos, for their initiatives and projects related to social responsibility.

President Medina also awarded companies that have contributed significantly to the growth of exports and the generation of foreign exchange for the Dominican Republic. These included Eaton, B.Braun, Convatec, Fenwal, Gildan, Hanesbrands, Laurelton Jewelry, Medtronic, Swisher Dominicana, Tabacalera de Garcia, and Timberland.

Employees who have worked in free zone companies for more than 40 years were also honored, as well as operators of the Corporacion Zona Franca Santiago, Caribbean Industrial Park, PIISA Industrial Park, Santiago Norte Industrial Park (PISANO), Zona Franca Las Américas, Zona Franca La Romana, Zona Franca San Isidro, Zona Franca San Pedro de Macorís and Zona Franca Tamboril.

The National Council of Free Zones and the Dominican Association of Free Zones, offered special recognition to the Institute of Technical-Professional Training (INFOTEP), for their accompaniment and support training human capital for free zone enterprises; as well as the General Direction of Customs, for its support with trade facilitation and streamlining of sector operations.

The Association of Cigar Producers of the Dominican Republic (PROCIGAR), Call Center & BPO Council, and the Medical Devices and Logistics Clusters, were acknowledged for their contributions in the formulation and implementation of strategic initiatives, and their alliances in support of the development of these subsectors. Haina International Terminal and Multimodal Caucedo also received accolades for their leadership in the development of world-class infrastructures and logistics services in support of the operations of the Free Zones.

Lastly, President Medina honored Mr. Arturo Peguero, Mr. Carlos Manuel Alvarez, Federico Domínguez, Fernando Capellán, Hendrick Kelner, José Clase, Luis Manuel Pellerano (posthumously) José Manuel Torres and Manuel Enrique Tavares, for their extraordinary contributions in the implementation of initiatives that facilitated the expansion, transformation, and consolidation of free zones.

To conclude the night, President Danilo Medina awarded Ms. Luisa Fernandez with the Country's highest honor given to a public servant, for her exemplary service and dedication to the steadfast growth of the Country's globally recognized Free Zone program. For over 41 years Ms. Fernandez has helped elevate and accelerate the global growth of the National Free Zones program. In receiving the distinguished award Ms. Fernandez could only express her gratitude.

"More than anything I would like to recognize and thank the men and women who work in the Free Zones, for their contributions towards maintaining and growing the Dominican economy, and without whom this would not be possible. The jobs that the Free Zones provide are a force for positive change and we hope to continue this progress long into the future," concluded Ms. Fernández.

About CNFZE: The National Council of Free Zones is a government agency created by Law 8-90 that's composed of representatives from the public and private sectors whose main function is to delineate a comprehensive policy to promote and develop the Dominican Republic's Free Trade Zone regime.

The Dominican Association of Free Zones (ADOZONA) is a national business association that represents private sector industrial parks and free zone companies in the Dominican Republic. It is a non-profit non-governmental entity, made up of Special Free Zones Companies, Associations of Free Zones Companies, Operators of Private Industrial Parks, located throughout the national territory.