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5511: Free Zones for Haiti mostly benefit DR (fwd)

From: Lance Durban <lpdurban@yahoo.com>

So, the head of the Dominican Association of Free Zones is promoting a
free zone along their border with Haiti to help employ Haitians from the
border areas.  As a promoter of Haiti, why then am I ambivalent about
these free zones in the DR?   Answer:  Because most of the benefit goes
to... the DR!

A foreign investor in a production facility in the Dominican Republic
probably pays about $40 to $50 per day per worker, a figure that includes
a pile of overhead.  But if all but the $6 Dominican minimum daily wage
stays in the DR, it's pretty easy to see which country benefits most from
that business.

I have nothing against Cuban aid for the Haitian sugar industry (sorry M.
Poincy), but frankly instead of wasting its time passing a tin cup around
to similarly impoverished neighbors, Haiti ought to be building its own
free zones and encouraging job-creating investors to come to Haiti. 
Unfortunately, the importance of job creation in growing a country seems
to be better understood in the DR than in Haiti.  It's not just failure to
attract new investors, Haiti is making a determined effort to shut down
its few remaining export manufacturers.  Quite beyond the political
uncertainty, spotty electricity, poor telephone service, high crime rates,
impossible roads, sky high port charges, and  interminable delays in
customs significantly drive up the cost of doing business in Haiti.  It's
no wonder that no new manufacturers have appeared in Haiti lately, while
business in the DR (with a base minimum salary double that of Haiti) is

L. Durban


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