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Daily News - 01 July 1998

Free trade agreement with Caribbean to be signed in August
The head of negotiations for the free trade agreement with the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Frederic Emam Zade said that regional countries are in agreement that the free trade treaty between the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) should be signed as scheduled during the visit of Caribbean chiefs of state to the DR 20-21 August. Emam Zade said that 95% of the points have been agreed upon. He explained that it was decided that the list of products that will be excluded from the free trade agreement will be left open for discussions during the six months following the signing of the agreement. A similar decision was reached with the free trade agreement the DR signed with the Central American trade block in April of this year. A decision is also remaining as to the criteria for origin of free zone exports.
The VIth round of commercial negotiations will be held in Trinidad & Tobago. Emam Zade said that another round may be necessary, and would be held in the DR prior to the meeting of the chiefs of state of the Caribbean.

Canadian company granted another concession for explorations
Impact Minerals, a Vancouver-based company, added another two concessions to its explorations for minerals in the northeast of the DR. Impact Minerals has up to now received four concessions for an exploration of more than 19,000 hectares.

President Fernández to travel to Far East
President Leonel Fernández is scheduled to travel 21 July to Taiwan and Japan on an official visit. This is the first time a Dominican statesman visits the Far East.
President Fernández will depart 21 July on a regular commercial airline and will arrive 23 July. During his stay in Taipei he will meet with the President of the Republic of China, Ice Teng-Hui. He will travel to Japan on 26 July where he will be received by Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. He will be in Japan through 31 July. On that day, he will return by way of San Francisco, California. In California, he has scheduled meetings with executives of Silicon Valley.
Official sectors estimate that the visit will result in donations from Taiwan and Japan of more than RD$400 million pesos.

Peguero is big headache for PRD
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez avoided confronting members of the PRD who oppose him. He chose not to attend the meeting of the political commission of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano where he would be questioned on his decision to remove from the pay list of the Chamber of Deputies several "advisors", most persons related to opposing sectors within the PRD. The list included wives of several PRD leaders. He said he was cleaning house to remove the "botellas" or persons who received a check but did not render a service.
Last Thursday he also chose to not attend the meeting of the board of the PRD held at the Hotel Hamaca.
President of the PRD, Enmanuel Esuquea Guerrero has invited Peguero to a new meeting on Tuesday. Peguero had said he would be abroad through Monday.
The PRD fears that Peguero's flirting with the government and the PLD, and his siding with the PRSC, plus a faction of the PRD that opposes Alburquerque, could result in his being voted president of the Chamber of Deputy. The PRD has already chosen Ramón Alburquerque as the party's candidate to preside the Chamber of Deputies.
The government has actively courted the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
Some sectors within the PRD feel that Peguero should be expulsed from the party.

Telecommunications exhibition
Codetel Data Expo 98 is a major telecommunications exhibit open to the public at the Hotel V Centenario on Thursday and Friday, 2 and 3 July. The largest telecommunications company in the country, is fostering the exhibition. Among other companies participating are Innovatica, Cisco, Cais, Nortel, Saatchi & Saatchi, Interactive, GTE Cybertrust, Verifone, Hewlett Packard, GTE Labs, Lucent Technologies, Racal, Microsoft, Bay Networks, 3COM and GBM.

Unpublished merengues for Merengue Festival
Ministry of Tourism announced that a Gran Gala of Unpublished Merengues will take place during the Festival of Merengue scheduled this year for 24 July to 2 August. The Gran Gala is slated for presentation on 27 July and will feature a compilation of some of the best unpublished merengues. A CD with these merengues will be prepared and used for the promotion of the DR and merengue abroad.

Who will get the Barahona radar?
Discussions are going on as to where the radar of the Barahona International Airport will be relocated. The Barahona airport is not in service, with very little prospects for its operation in the near future. Promoters of the new La Romana International Airport under construction at Batey Cacata and spokespersons for the Punta Cana International Airports both seek the radar. Dominican aviation authorities feel it is best to locate it at the new La Romana International Airport where it can be used simultaneously by four nearby airports - La Romana, Punta Cana, Arroyo Barril and Batey Cacata. Spokespersons for Punta Cana feel the radar should be installed at the Punta Cana International Airport, the third in traffic in the DR. Las Americas International is the most used airport, with 1,249,026 travelers in 1997, some 756,965 passengers used the Puerto Plata Airport and another 448,583 passengers used the Punta Cana Airport. Only 63,675 passengers used the La Romana airport. It is expected that once the new airport is built, these numbers will increase significantly.

Sammy Sosa's new record
Sammy Sosa ended the month of June with 20 home runs, a new record for baseball. Sosa broke Rudy York's 67 year old mark. He also hit more home runs in a month than Willie Mays, Pedro Guerrero, Babe Ruth, Ralph Kiner and many others in their careers. Sosa is also the Chicago Cubs' player to hit the most homers in a month, and bat in the most runs in a month. His overall number of homeruns for the season is 33.

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