Israel, Dominican Republic to improve business ties

Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez wraps up an official visit to Israel

Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, accompanied by a delegation of some 30 diplomats and businessmen, met with Foreign Ministry officials and local business leaders Tuesday in Tel Aviv to discuss ways the two countries can increase trade and commerce. "We are working on how to advance trade and create synergies," he said. Fernandez cited his country's firm relationship and support for Israel since 1948. The potential for improved business ties was a "win-win opportunity within our reach," he said. Closer cooperation could lead to a "radical transformation" of the Dominican Republic's economy and business pursuits, by making the "economy more diversified and competitive" through advanced technologies and partnerships, he added. Trade between Israel and the Dominican Republic was up 5 percent in 2008, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute. Some 100 Israeli companies were represented at the meeting on Tuesday, the institute said. "Many Israeli companies would like to do business in the Dominican Republic," David Arzi, the institute's chairman, said Tuesday. An Israeli business delegation with representatives from the hi-tech, biotechnology and communications sectors is planning to visit the Dominican Republic in October, he said. The Dominican Republic is primarily interested in energy and water technologies, he added. "We are very enthusiastic about working with the Dominican Republic," Mario Roberto Burstein, director-general of the Latin American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday. Trade delegations would cooperate in various hi-tech fields, he said. The Foreign Ministry wants local companies to invest in the Dominican Republic and foster better relations with Latin American countries.