The leaders of the Dominican Republic and Canada have agreed to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement between their nations, the Dominican government said Sunday. Dominican President Leonel Fernandez and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin reached the decision during a meeting on the sidelines of the Americas summit in Mar de Plata, Argentina, which ended Sunday, Fernandez's office said. "The leaders agreed to name technical commissions to advance the details of the agreement," the government said, without giving a timeline for the negotiations.
Two-way trade between Canada and the Dominican Republic reached US$101 million (Ђ85 million) in 2004. Dominican exports to Canada totaled US$71 million (Ђ59 million), while Canadian imports to the Caribbean country totaled US$30 million (Ђ25 million). The Dominican Republic's main exports to Canada include cocoa, grains, tobacco and coffee.
The Dominican Republic recently joined five Latin American countries in signing the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, reports the AP. I.L.