by Xinhua writers Cui Yuanlei, Gao Chunyu
MEXICO CITY, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) — Increased trade between the Dominican Republic and China will lead to stronger ties between the two peoples, Dominican President Danilo Medina has said.
Since establishing diplomatic ties on May 1, “we have embarked on a path together that seeks the prosperity of both nations,” Medina said in a written interview with Xinhua Wednesday before departing for his first state visit to China.
Medina, who heads his country’s delegation to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, said both sides “have been working to create a framework for cooperation in recent months.”
“We have already signed a Political Consultation agreement focused on working together at multilateral forums, and very soon we will have a mixed bilateral commission,” said Medina. “Similarly, soon we will be signing several agreements in the areas of economy, transport, education, financial development and other fields.”
Technical teams “are working on the details of various agreements of understanding to ease exports, visas and the flow of tourism, as well as to develop technical assistance in education, transport, agriculture and other areas,” said the president.
He also noted that the China-Dominican Republic ties date back to a long time ago.
“Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Dominican Republic has had a very significant Chinese community, which has completely integrated into the society, and which we have always appreciated and admired for its family structure, its industriousness and its contribution to the development of the community,” said Medina.
Currently, the Dominican Republic is China’s biggest trade partner in the Caribbean region. In 2017, two-way trade reached 1.871 billion U.S. dollars.
The president believed that attending the five-day expo is a way to strengthen those ties and boost the country’s exports.
“We are interested in increasing Dominican exports to the Chinese market, which in addition is among the largest and most dynamic in the world,” Medina said.
It won’t be easy to make inroads in China’s massive market, given the competition and stringent import standards, he said. But considering the price and quality, Dominican products will have a competitive edge.
“We make the world’s best cigars, thanks to our country’s exquisite tobacco and the fine way it is manufactured, by hand,” the president said.
“Our cacao is of the highest quality and with the best aroma in the world. And our rum has conquered the most exclusive markets in Europe and the United States, and we are certain that very soon it will also conquer the demanding Chinese market,” he said.
Medina’s visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, which he said has achieved notable economic and social progress in the past four decades.
“The Chinese government’s willingness to undertake reforms that promote internationalization and globalization — aware of its context, cultural characteristics and historic roots — sets an example for the rest of the world,” said Medina.
On China’s socioeconomic development, Medina said that investing in education and training has allowed the Chinese society to become more skilled and productive, while headway in housing and urbanization has significantly improved people’s quality of life.
“Lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and creating a significant middle class is something we admire about China, and without a doubt, we have a lot to learn from them,” he said.
The Dominican Republic, which is situated in the heart of Central America and the Caribbean, boasts one of the region’s most well-connected port networks, as well as a highly trained work force in production, transport and logistics.
“Because of all of that, I believe we are a natural ally for joining the Belt and Road Initiative as a regional center for trade between China and the rest of the Americas,” said Medina.
Despite rising protectionism in parts of the world, multilateralism will prevail given its strengths and benefits, said the president.
“In a globalized world, for goods and services and ideas, it is difficult to believe that any country can really be isolated without losing out on great development opportunities,” said Medina.
“That’s why I am convinced that the global tendency will continue to benefit those who bet on economic and political multilateralism,” Medina added.