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Haiti - Smuggling : Haitian customs cooperate few with Dominicans
02/05/2019 09:52:30

Haiti - Smuggling : Haitian customs cooperate few with Dominicans
Last March in Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published its recommendations to Haiti and the Dominican Republics in the fight against smuggling on both sides of the Haitian-Dominican border.

During this presentation, several Haitian personalities including President George B. Sassine of the Association of Industries of Haiti (ADIH), Laurent Saint-Cyr, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham - Haiti), representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti (CCIH) and the Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIO) among others were present, while the absence of Haitian officials and the Dominican private sector was very noticed.

The parties present agreed on the urgency to fight smuggling at the Haitian-Dominican border. For this, the process will have to be started on both sides with the support of the international community. The priority for the success of this advocacy is to involve the political will that each of the two countries of the island must have.

The Dominican Ambassador in Haiti, Alberto Despradel, recalled that his country attaches great importance to dialogue in all areas especially in the fight against smuggling.

However, in the field, beyond the Haitian political statements on the loss of nearly 350 million US dollars per year of tax revenue, caused by smuggling and calls from the private sector that continues to demand the strengthening of Border control, it must be noted that the Haitian customs agencies collaborate little with the Dominican customs, thus encouraging the increase of contraband.

While the Dominican authorities proudly praise the results of their actions against smuggling from Haiti, they do not fail to point out the inaction and lack of cooperation with Haiti.

In a statement issued by the Dominican General Directorate of Customs (DGA), it explains the measures taken to fight against smuggling from Haiti, faced the little cooperation of Haitian customs services "The discoveries of hundreds of cell phones and cigarette packets seized at the Haitian border in recent weeks underline the need for controls and justify the actions carried out by the various Dominican security and customs agencies."

The DGA recalls that it has offered its cooperation to Haiti in several bilateral agreements signed one in the framework of customs cooperation in 2014 and the other in 2017 on the exchange of information, the latter aiming to allow Haitian Customs to receive information electronically in real time. However, the DGA regrets that for the last two years it has been waiting for its Haitian side to be ready to implement this dynamic.

The DGA underlines that on March 26th and 27th there were 2 videos conference with the Haitian customs for the approval of the annual work proposal for 2019 of the binational cooperation program Haiti / Dominican Republic, subcomponent of the customs with the sponsorship of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), which includes a proposal for a protocol for the joint inspection of the customs administrations of the two countries and training in coordinated border management, in order to improve controls and facilitate the legitimate trade. Recalling in conclusion that in order to fight smuggling effectively all efforts require the participation of both sides of the border and continuity of actions to carry out this task, which has not been possible so far as expected.

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