PAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF KANSAS CITY
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Winter/Spring 2017

2016 was an eventful year for the Pan American Association of Kansas City. Beginning in the Fall/Winter of 2015/16 we sponsored a high school art competition whereby schools and students were assigned  a certain number the 35 sovereign countries of the Americas. The students were required to study an assigned country and create original art representative of the country’s culture. They competed internally and against one other school who had similar assigned countries. 17 area high schools and approximately 400 students participated. 230 entries were submitted for judging.  70 entries (2 per country) were selected as “Blue Ribbon” winners. Each student received a Certificate based on their level of participation. 

In January of 2016 an exhibit of all entries was held at the ArtsTech/KC exhibit space. In February we partnered with the Kansas City Museum for an exhibit of the Blue Ribbon winning art. The Blue Ribbon art was printed on posters and we co-sponsored an exhibit with the Organization of American States, in Washington, DC where the exhibit was viewed by OAS officials, diplomats and the public.

The Blue Ribbon winning art was then printed on vinyl banners and are being displayed opposite respective country flag banners along the Grand Boulevard of the Americas in downtown Kansas City. The student art banners will be displayed for a minimum of 5 years.  This spring all of the Blue Ribbon winning student art will be posted on our website. An example of some of the art can be found under the Grand Boulevard of the Americas tab Slide Show.

In March we partnered with the Belger Arts Center and brought 29 original paintings from the Organization of American State’s Art Museum of the Americas to Kansas City where the exhibit was viewed by local and out of town visitors. The exhibit was curated by PANAM-KC Vice President/Board member, Dr. Licia Clifton-James

In June, I represented the PANAM-KC as an official civil society observer at the General Assembly meeting of the Organization of American States in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  The General Assembly is where the Foreign Ministers of the member nations of  OAS  gather for meetings and bi-lateral discussions. U. S. Secretary of State, John Kerry was in attendance. It was a terrific opportunity to talk to people from various countries and gain new perspectives on the challenges facing the Hemipshere.

This coming April during Pan American Week (Week of April 14th) a ceremony will be held on the Grand Boulevard of the Americas honoring the Blue Ribbon winning students and their art.

We are currently working on an exciting education project for grade school students and other activities which will be reported on at a later date.

Each quarter we feature a spotlight on one of the sovereign countries of the Americas. In this issue, the Dominican Republic is featured.

Jim Malouff
President


PROFILE: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

A FEW BASIC TIPS FOR DOING BUSINESS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
By James M Malouff III, email jmm@malouff..us

  • Relationships develop over time and establishing trust is important.
  • Dominicans can be direct and are not afraid to say what they feel.
  • There are few market access issues.
  • Generally the most efficient way to conduct business is through an agent or distributor, but it is not an absolute necessity.  Business can be done direct. However, all contracts and agreements should be reviewed with local legal counsel to assure payment and termination in the event of non-performance and cite U.S. law if any disputes.
  • It is important that business colleagues are treated with respect and not do anything that causes them loss of face.
  • Be careful with facial expressions and bodily movements. Gestures are context sensitive and do not always translate well between cultures.
  • Appropriate business attire is required. Dress conservatively but well, appearance matters.
  • Have one side of business cards in English and the other in Spanish. Present with the Spanish side up. When receiving a business card, place it in a card case to show respect to the person who presented it to you.
  • Have all written materials in Spanish and English.
  • It is best to make appointments 2-3 weeks in advance
  • The DR is predominately a Roman Catholic country.
  • Avoid setting a meeting date on national holidays. Some religious holidays are also national holidays. Arrive on time for meetings.  Dominicans are generally punctual.
  • Avoid high pressure sales tactics
  • When changing money at the Airport use the Bank kiosks. They have the best rates versus other airport exchanges.
  • Change money at banks rather that at hotels or street exchange shops.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OVERVIEW

  • Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1492 and called it “Hispaniola;” which is now composed of two countries; the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
  • Traditional founding date of the Dominican Republic is 1821.
  • Capital City: Santo Domingo. Established in 1498, is the oldest continuously inhabited city and the first permanent European settlement in the New World.
  • Santo Domingo is also the site of the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built in all of the Americas.
  • Population:  (2016) 10,672 million.
  • Size: 18,705 square miles. By area and population is the second largest country in the Caribbean after Cuba.
  • Bordering country: Haiti
  • The Dominican Republic is slightly twice the size of New Hampshire.
  • Government: Representative Democracy
  • Independence Day: 27 February
  • Currency: Dominican Peso (1 US Dollar = approximately 45.76 DR Pesos).
  • Religion: 95% Roman Catholic, 5% other.
  • Literacy rate: 96%
  • Official language:  Dominican Spanish.  English is spoken at major hotels, tourist areas, and by some who have business interactions.
  • Largest urban areas: Santo Domingo-2.25 million; Santiago de los caballeros- 1.7 million; Santo Domingo Oeste-701,000
  • Climate: Tropical climate with little seasonal variation. Avg temperature 78.8 degrees.
  • American television shows and other media are widely available and popular.
  • Consumer attitudes and many brand preferences are similar to those in the U. S.

Noteworthy: The United States is the main political, social and economic partner of the Dominican Republic. The reality of being geographically so close to the world's largest economy and having a large community (Diaspora) in the country, which is estimated at more than a million people, are important factors that give the Dominican Republic a comparative advantage over some other nations. Also, baseball is the number 1 sport and the Dominicans are very proud of their baseball heritage who include Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Juan Marichal, and others.

ECONOMY

The DR has the ninth largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region.

The DR is one of the fastest growing economies in the Americas i.e.: GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0% respectively.  Growth during the first quarter of 2016 was 6.1%.

Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver, and arable land.

Major industries:  services, agriculture, mining, metal refining, textiles, cement, tobacco, electrical components, medical devices, and tourism.

The DR is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. It’s year around golf courses, geographical and bio diversity and its beaches are the main attractions.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Major exports: gold, ferronickel, electrical equipment, medical devices, plastics, scrap metal,
Sugar, bananas, beverages, jewelry, clothing, leather, footwear, and quality cigars.

Major imports:  equipment and machinery  (various), vehicles, vehicle parts and services, building products, fuel, services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, cotton, and consumer goods.

Major trading partners:*
Exports: United States, Canada, Haiti, Switzerland, and China
Imports: United States, China, Mexico, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago

Note: The US is the Dominican Republic’s number 1 trading partner.

Exports to the US – $4.1 billion (2015)

Imports from the US – $7.1 billon (2015)

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Noteworthy: The US and the Dominican Republic are signatories to the Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which eliminates tariffs and other trade barriers and increases market access for manufacturers and service providers.

The Dominican Republic is located in close geographical proximity to the US With its multiple international airports and multiple harbors it allows for easy access and reduced shipping costs. The close proximity additionally aids in maintaining personal contact with customers.   The buying patterns of many Dominicans mimic those in the U. S.

Foreign investment: The government encourages foreign investment. US Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – U. S. FDI in Dominican Republic (stock) was $1.2 billion in 2014 (latest data available), a 3.5% increase from 2013. US direct investment in Dominican Republic is led by manufacturing, information, and wholesale trade

The Industrial Free Zones program began in 1969, attracting foreign direct investment projects to the country during the last 45 years. The Dominican Republic has one of the most dynamic and successful industrial free zone programs in Americas.

Sales opportunities for US companies:*

The continued growth of the economy provides opportunities for US companies in a number of manufactured goods, commodities, technology, and consumer goods categories including:

Information technology                                                         
Minerals and fuel                                                       
Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals                                 
Machinery and equipment of various kinds                                                              
Building products                                                      
Vehicles and parts
Food stuffs
Agricultural products                                                             
Renewable Energy                             

Import opportunities:

US importers can also take advantage of the CAFTA-DR Treaty in the importation of products and materials produced in the Dominican Republic.

 

Jim Malouff