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Dominican Today, November 20, 2006

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SANTO DOMINGO.- The index of 19 countries looks at six factors that measure a country's links with the outside world, including exports of goods and services as a percent of GDP, Imports of goods and services as a percent of GDP, foreign direct investment as a percent of GDP, tourism receipts as a percent of GDP, remittances as a percent of GDP and Internet penetration, according to the Miami-based publication.

The Dominican Republic, which was second last year, fell to sixth place as a result of a significant decline in its score. Its trade, tourism receipts and remittances as a percent of GDP in 2005 fell compared to 2004. But it boosted its Internet penetration slightly. The declines in scores are largely due to GDP growing faster than trade, tourism receipts and remittances.

The Dominican economy last year expanded by 9.3 percent, the highest growth rate in Latin America along with Venezuela. And despite the decline in tourism receipts as a percent of GDP, the Dominican Republic is still the leader in Latin America in that category.

The Dominican decline is in contrast to the other CAFTA countries, which improved their scores. Costa Rica and Nicaragua made most progress, but also

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras became more globalized. Costa Rica jumped from third place overall to second place, while Nicaragua jumped from sixth to third place on the index, cites the report published in latinbusinesschronicle.com.

“All in all, CAFTA managed to reach an average score of 11.05, which was better than the Andean Community ( 8.17 ) and Mercosur ( 7.12 ),” it says.

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