SANTIAGO.- Tobacco farmers of the country’s north region (Cibao) yesterday heard with joy the news that U.S. president George Bush’s vetoed a bill passed by Congress, which threatened to decimate the Dominican and Central American tobacco industries.
The president of the Cibao Tobacco Harvesters Federation, Jorge Mercado, said the U.S. president’s decision would reactivate the north zone’s tobacco industry, mainly in Santiago province. "The veto of the law represents hope and relief for more than 300 harvesters in this region who have lived off the production of tobacco for centuries."
Agriculture minister Salvador Jiménez, quoted by the newspaper Diario Libre, said if the bill had been signed into law the country would’ve lost some 54,000 jobs.
The legislation also threatened to shutter 60 cigarette factories in the municipalities Tamboril, Villa González and Navarrete, and cause more than US$100 million annually in lost income for the country.
The U.S. tax on each cigar is currently 9 cents though the proposed law was going to raise it between one and three dollars, according to experts.