BY LATINVEX STAFF
Miami.- The Dominican Republic is the growth champion in Canadian trade with Latin America, according to a Latinvex analysis of data from Statistics Canada.
The news comes as the Dominican government is pressuring Canada-based Barrick Gold, the largest foreign investor in the Caribbean country, to renegotiate a 2009 contract in a move strongly criticized by local business group CONEP and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic. “Dominican President Medina’s high stakes game with Barrick is damaging the country’s investor-friendly image,” Latinvex warns in an editorial.
In the latest move, Dominican customs officials at Santo Domingo airport last week stopped a Barrick shipment headed to Canada, claiming that the mining company had not filled out the proper custom forms.
The growth in Canadian trade with the Dominican Republic contrasts with overall trade with Latin America, which fell by 0.4 percent last year to 64.2 billion Canadian dollars (US$64.0 billion). Canada’s exports to the region declined 2.5 percent to 18.3 billion Canadian dollars, while imports from Latin America grew 0.4 percent to 45.8 billion Canadian dollars.
Trade fell with half of Canada’s top trade partners in Latin America, including Brazil and Argentina, but grew slightly with Mexico, its top trade partner in the region. Canada’s trade deficit with Latin America grew 2.6 percent to 27.5 billion Canadian dollars.
Canada’s Latin America trade decline comes as both the United States and the European Union increased their trade with the region last year -- by 6.2 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.
A free trade agreement between Canada and Panama is set to enter into force April 1. Canada has also reached FTAs with Colombia, Honduras and Peru within the past six years.