Above: Petion-Ville (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti and the Dominican Republic are currently at odds over a recent Dominican court case that could strip hundreds of thousands of Haitians of their Dominican Republic citizenship.
Despite increased tensions, however, a pair of delegations from the neighbours on Hispaniola met in Haiti last week to deepen bilateral business ties, the government said.
The talks between a group of Haitian business leaders and 10 of their Dominican counterparts were held at the initiative of Florida International University.
Representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank attended the talks as observers, alongside donor countries and bilateral donors.
The Haitian and Dominican businessmen will meet again in November in the Dominican Republic, and agreed to turn their dialogue into a regular initiative called the Kiskeya/Quisqueya CEO Summit.
A statement from the office of Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the dialogue was an “ideal mechanism to continue discussions in a sincere way around trade issues affecting the business climate in both countries.”
The citizenship controversy was a topic of discussion, however, as the Haitian businessmen urged their Dominican counterparts to “transmit their concerns” about the ruling to the Dominican government.
For their part, the Dominican delegation expressed its concerns over certain import bans imposed by Haiti this year, with both sides agreeing that “any type of unilateral ban undermines confidence and the business climate.”
They suggested that the two sides establish mechanisms for consultations with the private sector before taking any such action in the future.
Such a mechanism could be the Haitian-Dominican Joint Bilateral Commission, which was set up in the 1990s to discuss bilateral issues.