The administration of President Luis Abinader has established collaboration ties with various nations of the world through agreements that the Dominican president has signed with his counterparts, taking advantage of official trips. The agreements signed touch on economic, political, air, cultural, sports and other areas.
Although some are only expressions of interest in strengthening relations, they represent an effort to project the Dominican Republic, which is beginning to weave a network of alliances. In several cases, follow-up on commitments has been observed and modest fruits have been harvested.
Next-door neighbor/broken ties
The first president Abinader met with was Jovenel Moïse of Haiti before his assassination; the closest and most relevant head of state to the Dominican Republic. Both presidents met at the border line between the two nations in Elías Piña province on 10 January 2021, although it was not disclosed who entered whose territory.
Moïse and Abinader signed a « joint declaration » where they expressed the points on which they wished to begin talks to reach agreements with specific commitments.
Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo said they were willing to cooperate so that Haiti would register Haitians in Dominican territory in the Haitian civil registry; in the construction of general hospitals in Haitian territory; in the negotiation to delimit the maritime borders between them; and in taking measures to deploy technologies that « facilitate the elimination of the irregular migratory flow, the traffic and trafficking of persons, the flow of arms, drug trafficking and cattle theft ».
The two leaders also affirmed their intention to cooperate on energy, agricultural and industrial production, cooking fuel, efforts to curb desertification and border surveillance.
On trade, negotiations would continue until a trade agreement was reached that would establish rules to deal with smuggling.
Six months later, Moïse was assassinated in his residence, and Haiti still has not been able to organize elections to choose a governor with whom the Dominican Republic can bring to concrete agreements the aspirations expressed before. Abinader met on Friday in Chile with Ariel Henry, Haitian Prime Minister, in the first official rapprochement since the assassination.
In response to the western partner, the closest and most important in economic exchange and migratory flow, Abinader flew east to the island of Puerto Rico, divided from the Dominican Republic by the Mona Channel.
The president traveled to the island for the inauguration of Governor Pedro Pierluisi on January 2, 2021, a gesture that was later repaid with his visit to the Dominican National Palace and the renewal of agreements signed in the past for collaboration in key areas of the life of both states.
Pierluisi and Abinader updated the Aguadilla Agreement with the signing of a « Joint Declaration for Strategic Alliance », with which they committed to promote commercial, cultural and sports relations.
They set the goal of promoting manufacturing, agricultural technology and services, as well as increasing economic, technical and scientific exchange. Through the promotion of business councils and chambers of commerce, they would seek to establish business and trade alliances. Both parties undertook to encourage meetings between their public and private sectors.
As a result, last Tuesday, March 8, the Government of Puerto Rico presented in a virtual seminar to Dominican businessmen the « economic opportunities » that the island has. The openness of the island to receive Dominicans to participate in its reconstruction projects was once again highlighted.
On July 8, 2021, the Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress, Jenniffer González Colón, discussed with President Abinader her proposal to the State Department to grant Dominican citizens temporary work visas for the same purposes.
On Sunday, April 18, President Abinader arrived in Spain on his second official trip to participate in the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, and the Forum of the XIII Ibero-American Business Meeting, from where he arrived with the announcement that he would convene the Ibero-American Ministers of Economy to discuss the recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.
The Dominican president assumed the pro tempore presidency of the Ibero-American Summit, with the responsibility of organizing the next summit in 2022. He promised efforts for a « renewed multilateralism », took the opportunity to promote the country in front of hundreds of businessmen and « reviewed the main issues of the bilateral agenda » with his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez.