Ambassador Robin S. Bernstein represented the U.S. Government and Minister of Agriculture Limber Cruz represented the Government of the Dominican Republic.
Ambassador Bernstein said international trade “is about the ability of our productive sectors to be prepared to meet the requirements of export markets, this includes compliance with aspects related to plant and animal health, food safety and trade facilitation. The Trade Safe program aims to strengthen precisely these capacities in Dominican public and private institutions and thus contribute to the continued growth of our bilateral agricultural trade. We are especially excited to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as other Dominican government and private sector institutions in this comprehensive five-year program”.
Additionally, Minister of Agriculture Limber Cruz said: “It is necessary to have healthy products of the quality demanded by international markets; that is why we strive beyond agricultural phytosanitary measures, to achieve the safety that is the reduction to a minimum of pesticides in food products, in order to promote the different varieties that will allow the Dominican Republic to position itself in the export market”.
The five-year program is financed with a $13.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the third grant in the country since 2015 under its Food for Progress initiative (FFPR). The other two programs, Exporta Calidad and PROGANA, end in 2021 with an estimated US$40 million in support to the local agricultural sector. The new program will complement these initiatives and will continue with the actions that seek to strengthen bilateral agricultural trade.
Under the framework of the signed Memorandum of Understanding, the Ministry of Agriculture and implementing partner IESC committed to carry out activities to improve the efficiency, coordination and transparency of trade, improve the safety of food and agricultural products, expand local, regional and international trade in agricultural products, increase agricultural productivity and improve access to safe food for Dominican consumers. Furthermore, it strengthens quarantine inspection systems to minimize the risk of introducing exotic pests and diseases, and contributes towards improving inspection systems for export-oriented products.
In addition to the Ministry of Agriculture, the TraSa Program will work with other public and private institutions in the country linked to the application of SPS and will support the institutional strengthening of the National Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (CNMSF in Spanish) and the National Committee for Trade Facilitation (CNFC in Spanish).