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The Dominican Republic is going to set up four more free-trade zones in order to make room for 12 new companies seeking to expand operations in the country. The new duty-free zones will generate more than 1,200 direct jobs in addition to contributing US$21 million to the economy, according to regional news wire Prensa Latina. Also known as industrial parks, the new free zones will be set up in Boca Chica, Valverde, San Cristobal and Santiago.
Duty-free zones are the key drivers of DR’s economy. There are 74 industrial parks in the country, where around 700 companies have set up shop, creating more than 175,000 direct jobs and approximately 200,000 indirect jobs. Moreover, the free zone program is fifty-years-old and its contribution to the economy has been enormous. It is estimated that companies in the free zones provide an economic impact that is 10 times higher than the incentives extended to them.
“For every RD$1 granted to corporations in incentives, the Free Zones in turn provide RD $10 to the national economy, with a net benefit to the Dominican economy of USD $4.5 billion annually,” stated the country’s National Council of Free Zones in a press release two months ago.
Under the free zone program, the government also provides skill training to its young graduates. Since 1992, as many as 770,914 workers have been trained in various jobs.