It looks likely that the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement will pass. This will open up the same kinds of opportunities for some businesses that were opened with NAFTA.
While doing business in Central America and the Dominican Republic may not seem to be quite as sexy as doing business in, say, Russia, the truth is that we in the U.S. do more business with Central America than we do with Russia. In fact, we do more business with Central America than we do with Russia, India, and Indonesia combined! In 2003, U.S. exports to the Dominican Republic were $4.2 billion, and nearly $11 billion to the five Central American countries. Plus, Central America is a lot closer than the more exotic venues, which creates both transport and control benefits.
This means that if your business is one that could take advantage of CAFTA, now it the time to start planning your entry into the market. For those who think this might be a good area, consideration should be given to attending the International Industrial Exposition (INDUEXPO 2005), being held in Guatemala City from 1 June to 3 June.
As with any unfamiliar geographical or cultural area, due diligence is a key factor for success. While people soon learn – generally at great cost – the importance of due diligence in an obviously foreign environment, there is still a tendency to assume that in Latin America there is less of a need. We – or anyone who has done business in Latin America without appropriate exercise of due diligence – can assure you that due diligence is absolutely as essential in the Americas as it is in more exotic locales!
So if you want to do business in the DR-CAFTA region, we would urge you to call us before you have trouble, rather than after.