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Daily News - 19 November 1999

Details of the II ACP Summit of Heads of State
Alexandra Pou of the Ministry of Foreign Relations revealed details on the social program of the complex organization of the upcoming II African, Caribbean and Pacific Summit of Heads of State and Government that will be held in Santo Domingo this 25-26 November in an interview today in the Listín Diario newspaper.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations is in charge of preparing the event that is considered the summit that will gather the most heads of state ever held in the Americas. Pou says young decorators José Luis Arbaje, Liddy Guerrero, Fidel López, Expedito Jiménez and Teresa Brea have been contracted.
Master chef Mike Mercedes will be in charge of the Dominican cuisine extravaganza that will be served at the Club of the Armed Forces for the visiting heads of state. Carlos Torres was chosen to prepare the Dominican buffet at the Central Bank club. And Virginia Schiffino, another specialist in Dominican food, will be preparing the snacks for the activity planned for the San Francisco Monastery in the Colonial City. Teresa de Santos will be preparing the international gourmet dinner at the National Palace.
Some 6,000 people are being accredited for the summit. Over 50 heads of state and government are expected, as well as high-ranking officers of European Union nations, and directors of multilateral organizations.
The Summit's work sessions will take place at the club of officers of the Ministry of Armed Forces, which has been enhanced at a published cost of RD$30 million.
The difficulty has been in providing for the multiple cultures of the visitors. For example, an area where Muslims can pray has been set aside.
Pou says that there will be two folklore presentations where African, Caribbean and Pacific performers perform together at the Fortaleza Ozama. On 26 November the presentation for the visiting statesmen will take place. A 27 November presentation will be for Dominican audiences.
She also said, a handicraft fair is open at the adjacent Casa de Bastidas and it will last through 27 November.
The official program for the event is available at the ACP website at http://www.acpsec.org/gb/summit2/prog_e.htm
An overview of the event was included in yesterday's news at
http://www.dr1.com/daily/news111899.shtml

Update on Central American and Caricom trade negotiations
Hoy newspaper publishes an update on trade negotiations of the Dominican Republic with Central America and the Caribbean. According to Ambassador Frederic Emam Zade, the greatest difficulty regarding the signing of the treaty with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) is that the Caribbean nations have not been receptive to trade reciprocity with the DR. The list of items submitted by Caribbean English-speaking nations that would not be included in the free trade agreement adds up to 900. The DR has presented only 15 items. The bill is also pending ratification by the Dominican Congress. President Leonel Fernandez and heads of government signed the free trade agreement on 22 August 1998. Emam Zade says that negotiations have stagnated due to the long list of restricted goods presented by Caricom. He said that the Caribbean nations are accustomed to non-reciprocal relations and seem to fear that DR companies would displace their own national firms.
Emam Zade said that on the contrary, several nations within Central America are concerned that the DR Congress has not given the agreement green light. He mentions that a Costa Rican mission is visiting to lobby before Dominican legislators for the ratifying of the treaty.
Prior to ratifying the agreement, Congress needs to pass the tariff reform act, which in turn depends on an increase in the ITBIS sales tax. This would compensate the government for a reduction in revenues due to the lower import taxes.
Emam Zade said that Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala are ready to implement the free trade agreement as soon as Congress passes it. Some details need to be worked out in relation to free trade with Honduras and Nicaragua. The DR excluded 23 products from the free trade agreement and Central America excluded seven.
Emam Zade says the Central America and Caricom agreements are a first step for the DR in regards to regional integration.

Spanish firm wins Tabacalera tender
Consorcio Cita Caribe won the tender held to capitalize state tobacco companies. The Spanish consortium, assisted in the DR by Valcorp, bid US$25 million for 50% of the shares of the Compañía Anónima Tabacalera, Tabacalera Santiaguense and La Habanera. The bid was 22% more than the minimum price set by the Commission for the Reform of the Public Enterprise (CREP). The CREP is the government organization in charge of the privatization process in the DR.
The new company will be known as La Tabacalera. Cita Caribe's contender, Rothmans International BAT (British American Tobacco) bid US$17,800,010.
Cita Caribe is a consortium made up by Cita Tobacco Canarias and Cita Caribe Holdings.
Alvaro Quezada, representative in the DR of the winning firm is also president of the Association of Exporters of Tobacco of the DR. He feels they have the experience to turn the new company into a prosperous firm. Quezada's firm has been buying Dominican tobacco for 40 years now, selling it as Coronas, Palace and Condal brands in Spain. Cita's principal shareholder, Tabacalera de España has for the past five years maintained a production and marketing relation with the Compañía Anónima Tabacalera, the largest of the three privatized state tobacco firms.

Group calls for international solidarity to Haiti
A local group of leading Dominican citizens is planning a march for international solidarity for Haiti on Saturday, 20 November. The march seeks to appeal to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the International Monetary Fund, the Interamerican Development Bank, the World Bank, the Association of Caribbean States, and the peoples and governments of France, the US, Canada and the European Union to fulfill commitments made with democracy, progress and development of Haiti when that nation was intervened by the United Nations and US troops five years ago.
The committee published full-page advertisements in local dalies expressing concern for the increase in poverty, environmental deterioration and political crisis in Haiti. It criticizes that the international community that intervened Haiti five years ago, "has irresponsibly abandoned Haiti". And points out that "this delicate situation adversely affects the DR as it increases migratory pressures to a country, which already has received large numbers of illegal immigrants, especially after the political crisis in 1991, and after the United States, applying their immense power, demonstrated their disposition to stop the arrival of refugees coming from Haiti to their own coasts".
The publication stresses that the DR, has done more than any other country in the world to help Haiti, but because of its scarce productive resources and its own growing population cannot carry alone the burden, and thus appeals to the nations "that most should and can, such as is the case of the US, France and Canada, to not shun from fulfilling commitments with Haiti."

More exports to Haiti
Exports to Haiti during the first six months of the year increased 108%, according to the Dominican Center for the Promotion of Exports. Exports were US$32.56 million, up from US$15.63 for the same period in 1998. The principal export products were: steel rods, eggs, zinc sheets, rice, crackers, herring, and batteries.

USAID assists DR in strive for increased competitiveness
The United States Agency for International Development is sponsoring several programs to improve the competitiveness of the private sector in the Dominican Republic. Edward L. Kadunc, director of USAID in the DR, made the announcement yesterday. USAID is providing technical and financial assistance. The US firms, Chemonics International Inc., The Monitor Company, J.E. Austin & Associates and Global Consulting will be assisting Dominican businessmen in this effort. The programs will support efforts of Santiago businesses (Asociación para el Desarrollo-APEDI) to form a "cluster", as well as micro and small businesses, working with the collaboration of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, and will assist in the designing of a national competitiveness strategy.

US sends back man sought for murder of journalist
US Federal agents handed Dominican Mariano Cabrera Durán to the District Attorney, Francisco Domínguez Brito yesterday at Las Americas International Airport. Cabrera, who migrated to the US several years ago, was returned to the DR after he was requested by Dominican judicial authorities to face accusations of having been the person who fired the shot that killed the Dominican journalist on 17 March 1975. The case has taken so long because it involves persons of influence, including several high-ranking former military. The case is scheduled to continue in the Dominican judiciary on 16 December.

Ivan Rodríguez wins MVP award
Puerto Rican Texas Ranger catcher Ivan Rodríguez surprised Pedro Martínez and local sports writers by winning the Most Valuable Player of the American League. Martínez lost when two of the sports writers did not vote for him, despite having won eight first places, vs. seven first places of the Puerto Rican. "I am surprised, I thought I had the numbers to win, but I respect the decision of the sports writers. They have their job to do, and I have mine," he told AP from his home in Santo Domingo.
A disappointed Pedro Martínez said further, " It's okay, I am not going to cry. It would have been an honor. But I have the Cy Young award. And that's enough."
The sports writers vote was as follows: Iván Rodríguez (252), Pedro Martínez (239), Roberto Alomar (226), Manny Martinez (226).

Important Panam basketball championship
The Sixth Panamerican Tournament of Best Clubs opens in Santo Domingo yesterday afternoon at 6 pm. The event is being transmitted by ESPN to Latin American and Hispanic audiences in the US.
The event will last through 21 November and will take place at the Palacio de los Deportes of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center and some games at the Polideportivo of San Pedro de Macorís.
Clubs from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Honduras and the Dominican Republic will be participating in the event. The teams are the Club Universidad Popular Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico), Club Sportivo Independiente (Argentina), Club Welcome (Uruguay), Club Marathon Franca Basketbol (Brazil), Club Nacional de Ingenieros (Honduras), Club Vasco de Gama (Brazil). The Club Mets de Mauricio Báez (national champions, Dominicana) and Club Guloyas de San Pedro de Macorís ( runner-up Dominicana) will also participate.
The Games will take place at 2 and 4 pm, 7 and 9 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be games at 11 am, 1, 5 and 7 pm. For a RD$30 admission ticket basketball fans can sit through the four games that start at 2 pm.
This is the first time this championship is held outside of South America.
The grouping of the teams is as follows:
Group A:
1. Champion (Dom)
2. Vasco da Gama (Bra)
3. Welcome (Uru)
4. Nacional (Hon)

Group B:
1. Franca (Bra)
2. Independiente (Arg)
3. Runner up (Dom)
4. Champion (Mex)

The teams play against all and by points within their groups for three days (18-22) November, with a total of 12 games.

Drag races at Las Americas Racetrack
Racers from Puerto Rico and the DR will dispute the first places in the Tenecco Automotive Racing Extravaganza that will take place on Sunday at the Las Americas Race Track on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. Two vehicles from Puerto Rico are coming with speed records of below eight seconds and 300 kilometers/hr in the quarter of mile distance. Practice races will take place as of 3 pm on Saturday, and on Sunday the competition starts at 10 am. Admission tickets are RD$100/RD$70.

Dominican baseball weekend games and tournament update
Friday, 19 November 1999
5 pm game Santo Domingo: Escogido vs. Licey
Santo Domingo: Escogido vs. Licey
Santiago: Estrellas vs. Aguilas

Saturday, 20 November 1999
5 pm game San Francisco de Macorís: Escogido vs. Pollos
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Escogido
San Pedro de Macorís: Pollos vs. Estrellas

Sunday, 21 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Licey vs. Escogido
San Francisco de Macorís: Aguilas vs. Pollos

Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing as of Wednesday, 17, 1999:
Aguilas Cibaeñas 10-6 (.625)
Leones del Escogido 7-4 (.636) ­ 0.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 7-7 (.500) ­3 games
Tigres del Licey 6-9 (.400), -3.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 4-8 (.333) -4 games

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