Raquel Peña and Sheikh Nahyan at the pavilion of the Dominican Republic.
DUBAI: The heart of the Caribbean was brought to the UAE on Saturday as the Dominican Republic celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
To mark the occasion, which also commemorates the Caribbean nation’s independence from Haiti, the day’s festivities created a carnival atmosphere with a theatrical performance, including merengue and bachata dancing. Celebrations also included an array of traditional cuisine from some of the country’s top chefs, alongside entertainment courtesy of the region’s leading musical talents.
Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, welcomed Raquel Peña, Vice President of the Dominican Republic.
Sheikh Nahayan said: “Through its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, the Dominican Republic invites visitors to discover the unique attributes that make it the natural hub of the Americas, while also learning about its history, culture and significant offerings in the fields of innovation, tourism and more.
“We are proud of the relations we share, and of the partnerships we have already built in various fields, such as renewable energy, logistics and trade. We also hope to engage in collaborations across new fields that will further strengthen our ties for the benefit and wellbeing of our people.”
Vice President of the Dominican Republic, said: “Our participation in this World Expo symbolises our commitment to continue strengthening our relations with the UAE. We continue to give relevance to the strength of foreign investment for economic and social growth, and the government of the Dominican Republic continues to work to continue to improve the quality of life for all Dominicans.
“The only way we can move forward is through our union with other countries. COVID taught the importance of communication and collaboration, and we have the opportunity to come out stronger if we work together to face these challenges of the complex times we have today. We are confident that connection will continue to strengthen into win-win relations for both nations. We congratulate the UAE for achieving an event of this magnitude during the pandemic.” The Dominican Republic Pavilion, located in the Mobility District, describes the island as ‘The land of joy, music, laughter and love’, with sandy white beaches and crystal clear seas. The pavilion features a variety of art in several shapes and forms, including bronze statues, oversized beaded installations, paintings and handmade jewellery.
Regional logistics hub: The United Arab Emirates is supporting the Dominican Republic’s efforts to become a regional logistics hub in Central America and the Caribbean, the country’s Vice President told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
Raquel Peña made this comment while talking about Dubai-based DP World, the multinational company that facilitates global trade through its ports and terminals, parks, logistics and economic zones together with maritime services. “DP World has played a very important role for our country by providing world-class intelligent logistics solutions, increasing our competitiveness and the connectivity with other world nations,” she said.
The second-largest country in the Caribbean and a major tourist destination, the Dominican Republic is located between Puerto Rico and Cuba, and it shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
In an exclusive interview with WAM on Saturday, Pena added, “The government headed by President Abinader aims to promote the Dominican Republic as a regional logistics hub in Central America and the Caribbean to attract foreign investment and DP World contributes to achieving this goal. Additionally, DP World is the largest Emirati investor in the country and has demonstrated its long-term commitment with its more than 20 years of presence.” According to DP World, the company began operations in the Dominican Republic in 2003. “Located on the Punta Caucedo peninsula, a strategic place for the redistribution of cargo to the Caribbean, the United States, Central America and South America. Thanks to this excellent location, we handle more than 60 per cent of the Dominican market share,” says the company website.
“Our port in the Dominican Republic has become one of the most important ports in the Americas region and is among the top 15 ports in Latin America. Amongst these facilities is the first logistics centre located within a port terminal in the Caribbean region. This Park has six fully operational warehouses and has the capacity to meet customer needs in one place, streamlining customs processes, reducing transportation costs, and representing significant improvements in delivery times,” added DP World.
The Vice President said the existing agreement between both nations on air services will help further strengthen the bilateral ties, and enhance tourism and commercial exchange.
“My presence here today also serves the purpose of continuing to improve and strengthen our connection with the United Arab Emirates, for the benefit of both nations.” Talking about tourism Raquel Peña said, “We are a country that has natural resources that lend themselves to leisure and entertainment and that are expected to be visited by tourists from all over the world.”
Raquel Peña and her delegation attended the National Day celebrations of the Dominican Republic at Expo 2020 Dubai on Saturday. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, met with Peña at the pavilion of the Dominican Republic. Sheikh Mohammed discussed with her ways of boosting bilateral cooperation and advancing the strategic partnership between the two countries, especially in the fields of trade, investment and tourism.
Peña said the global event is an important venue for establishing commercial relations and cultural exchanges with more than 190 countries.
She is happy to visit the UAE when the county is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding.
“The UAE is a great global example of economic, social, industrial, and technological development, for all they have achieved in just 50 years. These advances make this nation an icon of the good use of its resources for the benefit of its citizens,” said Peña who had successfully led her family business and worked as an academic before becoming the vice president.
“Everyone who knows me knows of my two great passions, the education and business, which can influence people’s development. My experience in both areas of life has helped me to work in the position I currently occupy,” she said while talking about her experiences in her previous careers.
“It is a privilege to serve my country and I can testify that, regardless of our academic background, or work experience, we can always take the leap and get involved in politics and public service.”
Deal for Customs Reform: The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), represented by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has signed a commitment letter with the Dominican Republic’s General Directorate of Customs to officially implement a Customs Management System that will streamline logistics processes and reduce time and costs in cross-border trade.
This agreement was signed at Expo Dubai 2020, as part of the Dominican Republic’s National Day activities, by Eduardo Sanz Lovaton, General Director of Customs, representing the Dominican side, in the presence of the Vice President of the Dominican Republic Raquel Peña, head of the country’s delegation, and others government officials.
“We continue with our commitment to support the development of the Dominican Republic. This time, we have enabled new digital solutions that connect customs officials and traders through an easy-to-use interface and a suite of custom-built tools. The PCFC team has worked closely with the country’s General Directorate of Customs to successfully deploy this innovative platform,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
“This product suite features a unique and highly sophisticated risk analysis system that replaces traditional customs systems. We have also enabled new processes and solutions related to intelligence management, risk assessment, green lane, and post clearance audit. The new solutions have resulted in many benefits, such as, facilitating completely paperless trade, easing the flow of the customs process using innovative technology as well as increasing the efficiency of the clearance process,” he added.
The head of PCFC also highlighted its sustained investment in digital platforms to enhance the simplicity, transparency, and efficiency of customs operations, which will facilitate greater global trade. He also stressed his commitment to continued collaboration with the Dominican Republic.
The country has seen a transformation over the last 18 months as part of its strategy to increase the country’s competitiveness at a regional level and attract foreign investment. With the signing of this agreement the Dominican Government continues to advance its goal of turning the country into a world-class logistics hub in the Latin American region.