French week in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican-French Chamber of Commerce, the French Embassy in the Dominican Republic and world-famous resort “Casa de Campo” will celebrate the first “Week of France”, to be held from March 22 through the 25th in “Altos de Chavon,” a replica of a medieval French village built right outside “Casa de Campo.”

The cultural, entrepreneurial, musical, sports and gastronomic event will line the streets with artists, wine and cheese tasting stands, as well as an impressive exhibition of French products.  Some 40 companies are expected to participate.

The event will also feature the first “Dominican-French Business Forum,” where more than 200 business leaders and government representatives from both nations, will have the opportunity to come together to discuss possible business ventures.

Delegations from the following French-speaking Caribbean nations will also participate:  Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana.

“This will be a great event. “This is the most important economic event ever held between France and the Dominican Republic,” explained Manuel Grullon, president of the Dominican-French Chamber of Commerce, and head of the local “Banco Popular Dominicano.”

France has become the country’s third largest tourism market, behind the United States and Canada. In the last five years more than one million French citizens have vacationed in the Dominican Republic.

Last year almost 250,000 visited the country, while in 2010 that number hit 230,000. Airlines traveling between France and the DR: Air France, XL, Frontier and Air Caraibes.

Jean Pierre Gastaud explained that this event comes at a time when trade between the Dominican Republic and France is at its highest levels.

He said that France is currently importing to the Dominican Republic 96 million Euros, mostly in industrial equipment and consumer goods.

The Dominican Republic is exporting some 81 million Euros, 80% from the agricultural sector.

Those numbers, however, explained economist Henri Hebrard, could run much higher because official numbers usually fall short.  France currently has invested in the Dominican Republic some US$1.7 billion.

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