In the Dominican Republic, the Directorate of Foreign Trade and Administration of Trade Agreements (DICOEX) of the State Secretariat of Industry and Commerce is responsible for administration and implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA.)
Created in 2002, DICOEX is still a relatively young organization and faced a number of challenges to effectively carry out its mandate. The greatest obstacle was designing a system for administering and managing DR-CAFTA and putting in place a consulting mechanism for enterprises with questions concerning foreign trade.
USAID’s DR-CAFTA Implementation Project
provided support to DICOEX through a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the capacity of staff and strengthening the institution. Training topics included organizational structure, internal regulations, conflict resolution, and how to collaborate effectively with public and private sector institutions.
The DICOEX executive management team also went to see how Costa Rica’s Ministry of International Trade (COMEX) manages international trade agreements. During the visit, the DICOEX team met with COMEX administrators and learned about the information mechanisms and services they provide to promote trade within the private sector.
Based on the best practices observed at COMEX, the DICOEX management team planned a series of initiatives to implement locally to improve their administration of CAFTA. The initiatives include an information system for consultations, formation of an institutional communications strategy, and training of a spokesperson. DICOEX planned to use the experience gained through their counterparts in Costa Rica to reinforce transparency throughout the institution.