According to an ongoing research program by the EU’s Global Environment Change Alliance Plus Effort, the Dominican Republic may be the 11th most vulnerable country to climate change in the world. In a region of extreme cyclonic activity, the Dominican Republic is one of the WTO Members most threatened by hydrometeorological events. The impact of these extreme activities has provoked economic losses in the order of nearly billion, not to mention the impact on human and natural life. The first meeting of the Partnership’s Trade and Development Panel was held in October 2021, which was an opportunity for events to provide updates on relevant trade policy developments in the United Kingdom and in the Caribbean area, and to reaffirm their desire for a prompt ratification of the Agreement. We are grateful towards the Government of the Dominican Republic for being one of the first countries in order to ratify the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement in Apr 2019. The UK appreciates Dominican Republic’s continued collaboration in the implementation of the CARIFORUM-UK Agreement and we look forward to working together to fully apply all areas of the agreement. Turning to exogenous challenges, Users representing Small Island Creating States and Small Vulnerable Economies rightly highlight the increasing threat presented by extreme climactic events. Madame Chair, We were also pleased to note the shift toward sustainable agriculture practices during the review period and how these practices have contributed in the direction of increased food security, non-urban jobs, and agricultural exports. The UK is keen in order to hear more about developments within Dominican Republic’s agriculture, health and safety system. We also discussed matters of joint interest including tariff liberalisation, business in Goods & Solutions, and Geographical Indications. The parties noted with fulfillment that the Agreement had guaranteed continuity of a trading partnership worth almost £4 billion in 2021 and portrayed their wish to further develop sustainable and inclusive industry. We look forward to working with the international community to push action on SIDS weather and economic resilience in front of the pivotal UN SIDS Peak next year. The UK is committed to delivering the guarantees of the Glasgow Climate Pact, including action on the range of finance, considering weeknesses in our finance decisions, and addressing loss and harm. The Secretariat’s Document for this TPR indicates that will over the review period, the particular Dominican Republic’s economy had a remarkable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a contraction in GDP of almost 7% in 2020 followed by growth associated with over 12% in 2021. Let me start by saying, we commend the Dominican Republic on their GDP growth rates between 2014-2019, exceeding the historical average at 6. 2% and that we appreciate the Dominican Republic’s responses to our 18 Advance Written Questions. We were interested to know more about customs procedures, import measures in particular tax stamps, technical requirements, and single investment windows. These highlight the granular interest which all of us and British companies place in effective trading relations with all the Dominican Republic. As with other Members, we all also raised questions concerning the agriculture sector, especially exemptions for import licenses. Chair, to conclude, we wish our co-workers from the Dominican Republic well and a successful 5th Trade Policy Review. Many thanks, Ambassador. Let me thank the Government of the Dominican Republic and the WTO Secretariat for their Reports plus welcome the typically insightful comments of our most distinguished Chair and also our Discussant, Ambassador PAGÁN, Ambassador of the United States of America, fresh from her own nation’s TPR. Nevertheless , as the Secretariat Report also identifies, since their last review, where Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures had been deemed unfit there has not been much marked improvement, as there is still no centralized mechanism for the preparation of SPS measures. We therefore encourage the Dominican Republic to pay particular attention to these key areas. Just last month, alongside North america and the Alliance of Little Island Sates, we launched the Principles for Improved Aid Impact in SIDS at the Effective Development Assistance Summit here in Geneva. We hope that the Concepts will be a useful tool in improving the quality of aid and ensuring that development partners arrange with SIDS’ own priorities. We recognise the challenge intended for Small Island Developing Says (SIDS) to diversify taking into consideration their vulnerability to exterior shocks and the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Indeed, SIDS are important partners for the UK. In our International Development Strategy, all of us set out our vision that will SIDS will be more climate plus economically resilient by 2030. And we salute the particular constructive role played by Dominican Republic in symbolizing the interests of SIDS in a whole range of multilateral fora, in Geneva plus beyond. Relatedly, Global Supply Chains, the bedrock of totally free and fair trade and the conduit to its benefits are also increasingly threatened simply by extreme weather, from damaged infrastructure to disrupted strategies and the rippling knock-on results. It’s a reminder that will, as a Membership, we must accelerate efforts to modernise the international trading environment, like through harmonised standards plus digitised customs procedures.
Speech: World Trade Organisation’s Dominican Republic Trade Policy Review, January 2023: UK statement