Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 11-12 April 2000
The OECD, with the support of the Government of the Dominican Republic, organised a Conference on Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean. This was a continuation of the intensive dialogue the OECD has engaged in with Latin American Countries since 1995 on investment issues within the region. The most recent OECD conference of this nature took place in Lima, Peru, in December 1998 and was co-sponsored by the European Commission.
Participants from all OECD and Latin American and Caribbean countries, representatives of international institutions and the private sector attended the conference. It focused on FDI in the Caribbean basin and looked at current trends and prospects for FDI in the region, the investment climate and the FDI policy frameworks and the role of promotion agencies in attracting investment.
A workshop on Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean Basin and Latin America took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 11-12 April 2000 and brought together OECD countries, non-Member countries*, international agencies and private investors. The meeting was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs´ newly inaugurated Escuela Diplomatica y Consular de la Republica Dominicana and was opened by Mr. Luis Manuel Bonetti, Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Dominican Republic and Mr. Rainer Geiger, Deputy Director for the Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD. The purpose of the conference was:
to promote investment as a key factor for economic growth and sustainable development;
to discuss how investment conditions in the region can be further improved;
to exchange experience on successful investment promotion strategies
to help building consensus on international rules for investment.
Participants noted significant achievements throughout the region in attracting foreign direct investment. In 1998 global FDI flows to Latin America and the Caribbean region reached a record level of US$75 billion dollars. This strong performance of countries in the region is due to the following factors: development of comparative advantages; progress of economic reforms; macroeconomic and political stability; focus on privatisation and the liberalisation of foreign investment regimes.
Participants felt that further efforts are needed to pursue this favourable investment climate and integrate investment policies into an overall strategy of sustainable development. For this purpose, investment policies should pursue the following objectives: upgrading of human resources; reducing poverty; promoting indigenous industries and strengthening their links with foreign investment, promoting high value added activities through integration of IT technology, improve governance in the public and private sector and promote regional cooperation.
Participants agreed on the need for regional cooperation to continue to exchange the experience and to develop best practices and to help countries identify priorities and develop their competitive advantage. Based on the findings of the Conference, countries of the region call upon the OECD to organise together with other international organisations, a medium term programme of work which would include the following issues:
Identification of competitive advantages and policies to promote transition to a higher value economy.
Promotion of indigenous industries and strengthening their linkage to foreign investment.
Tax treatment of investment, including use of tax incentives and avoidance of double taxation.
Use of information technology for professional training.
Removing red tape and improving public sector efficiency and integrity.
Access to capital and creation of capital markets.
Demonstrating the usefulness of Investment Promotion Agencies, measuring their impact and assuring the sustainability of funding.
The collection of investment statistics and improvement of information on foreign investment.
A continuing dialogue between business leaders, investment promotion agencies and senior government officials would be an important part of this programme.