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					                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       1


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                                                       March 2007
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                      2


            TABLE OF CONTENTS                          based Columbus, which acquired New World in
                                                       Sept. 2005.
 1  The Region
 2  Country-by-country reports in alphabetical          CARIBBEANTRAVEL.COM.                 Gold    Book
    order                                              Publishing, publishers of The Caribbean Gold
 22 Calendar                                           Book, will take on a new name and image:
 23 Data Base                                          CaribbeanTravel.com – The Magazine, it was
                                                       reported Jan. 16. The new format that includes
   Caribbean UPDATE (ISSN 8756-324x) is                more regional and destination editorial content,
published monthly by Caribbean UPDATE Inc., 116        more than 1,300 hotel listings from 32 Caribbean
Myrtle Ave., Millburn NJ 07041. "We strive to          destinations and enhanced distribution to include
provide you with information that you can act upon,    IATA Agents. Hotel listings and editorial content
by phone, fax, e-mail or packing your bags."           will be replicated on CaribbeanTravel.com. Details:
Subscriptions: $267 per year (12 issues either via     Jill Jones, publisher. Email: jill@goldbookpub.com.
regular mail or Email); $134 special price to          305.443.5900. Lorraine Ortiz. Email: lortiz@
academics, and for additional subscriptions to the     caribbeanhotelassociation.com, 787 725 9139.
same organization. Bulk quantities also available
(inquire). To order, see back page, or call 973 376-     CARIBBEAN TRAVEL & LIFE                       IS
2314. E-mail:                                          “OFFICIAL.”        The      Caribbean     Tourism
kalwagenheim@cs.com.                                   Development Co. on Jan. 26 agreed with World
                                                       Publications, LLC to declare Caribbean Travel &
                  THE REGION                           Life magazine the official consumer publication of
                                                       the Caribbean. Details: Richard S. Kahn. Tel: 516-
    CHINA-CARIBBEAN               TRADE           IS   594-4100. Email: R.Kahn@KTCpr.com or Johnson
GROWING. The Dominican Republic had more               Johnrose at 246-427-5242. Email: jjohnrose@
than twice as much trade with China in 2006 as with    caribtourism.com. Sue Gilman. Tel: 407-628-4802.
Taiwan, a sign of Beijing's growing influence in the   Email: sue.gilman@worlpub.net.
Caribbean, said Cai Wei Quan, China's chief rep in
Santo Domingo, reports AP (Jan. 25, 2007). Trade         ERICSSON-DIGICEL CONTRACT. Ericsson
between the DR and China totaled US$490 million        was awarded two contracts by Digicel Group to
(euro378 million) last year, he said. Trade with       provide GSM/EDGE networks in El Salvador and
Taiwan totaled US$180 million (euro139 million)        Guyana, it was reported Jan. 19. The contracts
over the same period, Taiwanese Embassy                include GSM radio & transmission equipment,
spokesman Tomas Chen said. China's growing             GPRS/EDGE networks, pre-paid systems, network-
share of the DR market is powered by sales of          management systems, services, and training.
construction equipment, motorcycles and home           Deployment is planned for the first quarter 2007.
electronics that retailers previously bought from      Ericsson supplies GSM systems in more than 22
third parties, Cai said. Foreign Minister Carlos       markets to the Digicel Group, said Mario Assaad,
Morales Troncoso announced tentative plans to          Digicel chief technology officer. Details: Ericsson
open a DR mission in Shanghai, its first on the        Media Relations. Tel: +46 8 7196992. E-mail:
mainland. The country already has a commercial         press.relations@ericsson.com.                 Web:
office in Hong Kong.                                   www.ericsson.com

 TRINIDAD-CURACAO                      UNDERSEA          VIKING        EXPANDS          DISTRIBUTION
NETWORK. Columbus Communications Inc. said             NETWORK.            Viking      Systems,      Inc.
Jan. 30 that its subsidiary, New World Network         (OTCBB:VKSY), a designer, maker and marketer
Ltd., is building an undersea fiber optic network to   of laparoscopic vision systems for minimally
connect Trinidad to Curacao and expand the reach       invasive surgery (MIS), said Feb. 1 it added a
of its ARCOS network. The Trinidad-Curacao Sub         partner, Universal Care Corp. for Puerto Rico, the
Sea Fibre Project includes 1,000 kms of cable, said    US Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and the
Brendan Paddick, CEO of Bridgetown, Barbados-          eastern Caribbean, including Trinidad, Tobago and
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         3


Barbados. Details: Kevin T. Murphy. 212-825-3210.      Network (CTN) will incorporate the new brand logo
Email: kmurphy@ investorrelationsgroup.com.            in promotion efforts. Details: Lorraine Ortiz-
Lynn Granito. 212-825-3210. Email: lgranito@           Valcárcel. Tel: 787 725 9139. Email: lortiz@
investorrelationsgroup.com                             caribbeanhotelassociation.com

  TRANSPORT MERGER. Viva International,                  GLOBAL IP CONNECTIVITY. Global
Inc. on Feb. 12 said it issued a letter of intent to   Crossing, an IP solutions provider, on Jan. 31 said it
Transportation Associates, Inc. (TA) that proposes     is working with Global Caribbean Network, a
merging Eastern Caribbean Airlines Corp. (ECA)         subsea cable operator based in Guadeloupe, to
and Viva's 49% in Viva Air Dominicana S.A.             enhance IP connectivity to the region. GCN will
(VAD) with TA, a holding company specializing in       link voice & data traffic services to Global
the acquisition and management of trucking             Crossing's network in St. Croix, via 10-Gigabit
companies. Details: Viva International, Inc.           wavelengths, enabling GCN to extend its services to
Tel:(231) 932-7490                                     North America, Europe and Asia. Details: Becky
                                                       Yeamans. + 1 973 937 0155. Email:
  TOURISM SCHOLARSHIPS. The Caribbean                  PR@globalcrossing.com. Fernanda Marques. + 55
Hotel Foundation (CHF), the non-profit subsidiary      11     2123       4712.      Email:      LatamPR@
of the Caribbean Hotel Association, on Jan. 26         globalcrossing.com. Adriana Huerta. 305 808 5919.
announced the 2007/2008 Scholarship Program for        Email: LatamPR @ globalcrossing.com. Laurinda
hospitality employees, educators, and students         Pang.       800        836       0342.        Email:
wishing to pursue studies or professional              glbc@globalcrossing.com.          Web:         www.
development courses.     Application forms are         globalcrossing. com
available at   www.caribbeanhotelfoundation.org,
and from the national hotel association in each          “VIRTUAL GAY CRUISE.” Atlantis Events,
Caribbean country. In 2006 the CHF reached a           Inc., a specialist in gay and lesbian cruises and
record US$144,500 for 39 scholarships granted to       resort vacations, is partnering with Cruise Critic to
students and professionals from 19 Caribbean           launch the world's first virtual gay cruise. Atlantis
nations.                                               chartered Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas)
                                                       for a cruise departing Miami on Jan. 28. Writers and
  FOX GETS RIGHTS FOR WORLD SERIES.                    photographers will document events and ports as
Fox Sports en Espanol said Jan. 31 it has again        the 160,000 ton vessel tours the Caribbean over
acquired the U.S. Spanish-language TV rights to the    seven days with 3,700 guests aboard. Their writings
58th Caribbean World Series of baseball. Taking        and photos will be posted to the CruiseCritic.com
place in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the four-team, six-    website, with has 160,000 members, said Rich
day tournament will be televised for the ninth         Campbell, CEO of Atlantis, which is offering 7
consecutive year on Fox Sports en Espanol,             other gay cruises in 2007, and 3 gay resort weeks.
beginning Feb. 2, said David Sternberg, Exec.VP
and Gen. Mgr. Details: Jennifer Serna, 310-444-          SMART ONLINE PARTNERSHIP. Smart
8736. Email: Jennifer.Serna@ fox.com or H&M            Online Inc. (based in Research Triangle Park NC), a
Communications. Etienne Hernandez-Medina, 310-         provider of Software-as-a-Service for small
849-3663. Email: etienne@hm-com.com. Web:              businesses, on Jan. 20 announced a partnership with
foxsportsla.msn.com.                                   Segurex, S.A., which provides IT services to
                                                       financial service companies. They are offering a
  AMEX PARTNERS WITH CHA-CTO.                          Spanish version of Smart Online's applications,
American Express has signed on as a private sector     which will be offered as a private labeled site to
Charter Partner of the joint venture launched by the   their small business customers, said Michael Nouri,
Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean          president & CEO, Smart Online, Inc. Details: Smart
Tourism Organization to market the Caribbean           Online, Inc.Thomas Furr, 919-765-5000. Email:
brand worldwide under the Caribbean Tourism            tfurr@ smartonline.com or Lippert/Heilshorn &
Development Co. (CTDC) umbrella, it was reported       Associates. Jody Burfening, 212-838-3777. Email:
Feb. 1. American Express’ Consumer Travel              jburfening@lhai.com. Web: www.smartonline.com.
                         Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                            4


                                                            controlling doping, applying sports medicine and
  NEW CRUISE STOPS. Half Moon Cay, Grand                    collaborating in physical education.
Turk and Nassau are featured on a new 3-port, 5-
day itinerary operated by Carnival Cruise Lines'                                BAHAMAS
2,052-passenger Imagination out of Miami, starting
Aug. 13, said Carnival President/CEO Bob                      TOURISM              REVENUE             LOSSES
Dickinson.    Details:    1-800-CARNIVAL        or          PROJECTED. The Ministry of Tourism of the
www.carnival.com.                                           Bahamas, the leading destination for US visitors to
                                                            the Caribbean, projects it will lose 233,000 visitors,
  NEW FROMMER’S TRAVEL GUIDE.                               1.37 million visitor nights and US$278 million in
Frommer’s reports it has just published a 204-page          visitor revenues this year, reports Caribbean
guide to St. Maarten/ St.Martin, Anguilla and St.           Investor (Feb.9, 2007). Most hotels here are already
Barts ―in response to the growing popularity of the         feeling the impact of the US Western Hemisphere
islands.‖ Cost: US$11.99. Details: Adrienne                 Travel Initiative which kicked in Jan. 23 and
Fontaine.      Tel:      201-748-5625.      Email:          requires US citizens returning from Canada, Mexico
afontain@wiley.com                                          and the Caribbean to possess US passports to
                                                            reenter the US. Americans visiting Puerto Rico and
             ANTIGUA & BARBUDA                              the US Virgin Islands are not subject to the
                                                            passport requirement.
  15% SALES TAX IMPOSED. Antigua &
Barbuda implemented a 15% sales tax, becoming                  NEW US$2 BILLION RESORT. Casino
the latest Caribbean nation to seek a more                  operator Harrah's is finalizing plans for a US$2
streamlined tax scheme, reports AP (Jan. 29, 2007).         billion-plus resort here with Starwood Hotels &
The start of the value-added levy coincided with the        Resorts Worldwide, reports Caribbean Investor
repeal of several other taxes to avoid drastic price        (Jan. 23, 2006). Baha Mar will be a mixed use
hikes. Doug Doug McLaren administrator in charge            project on 1,000 acres in Nassau. Baha Mar Resorts,
of applying the new system, said ―This was needed           a Nassau-based resort owner and operator, and a
for harmonization of taxes in the region,‖ referring        Harrah's subsidiary, have formed a joint venture,
to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy,                 while Starwood has agreed to manage four hotels
which groups 6 million people in 12 Eastern                 under the St. Regis, Westin and Sheraton brands.
Caribbean nations. ―All the Caribbean nations will          The joint venture will be 57% owned by Baha Mar
be using a VAT system within the next two or three          Resorts and 43% by the Harrah's subsidiary. Baha
years,‖ he said.                                            Mar is projected to have 3,000 rooms with Harrah's
                                                            operating a Caesar's Resort with 1,000-plus rooms
   CARIBBEAN STAR CUTS 40% OF STAFF.                        and a 10,000-sq ft casino. The W, St. Regis and
Caribbean Star airline cut 40% of its staff and will        Westin hotels are expected to be included in the
close all four of its ticket offices across the region to   complex. Construction is scheduled to start this year
cut costs, reports AP (Jan. 31, 2007). The dismissal        with an anticipated opening in 2011.
of 188 of the Antigua-based company's 470
employees came two weeks after the carrier                     DELTA ADDS FLIGHTS. Delta Air Lines said
trimmed its fleet by four aircraft - leaving it with        it will add two new routes from its Atlanta hub to
seven planes. Caribbean Star has begun joint flight         The Bahamas with nonstop service to George
operations with Antigua-based LIAT, which has               Town, Exuma (1) and North Eleuthera (1) on June
been struggling for years, and repositioned itself as       16. The flights will be operated by Delta
a budget carrier in late 2005.                              Connections Atlantic Southeast Airlines, said
                                                            Joanne Smith, VP, Marketing. Details: (404) 715-
  SPORTS AGREEMENT WITH CUBA. Cuba                          2554
and Antigua & Barbuda signed a five-year sports
cooperation accord, reports ACN (Jan. 29, 2007). It                            BARBADOS
includes developing human resources, building
sports facilities, exchanging teams and delegations,
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          5


  NEW WIRELESS BROADBAND SERVICE.                        TOURISM UPDATE. The BVI on Jan. 25
Fidelity Wireless announced plans to offer ―triple     provided an update on developments in tourist
play‖ Internet, phone and IPTV/ Video on Demand        accommodations here:       Biras Creek Resort has
services over a new wireless broadband network         been acquired by Victor International and is
here in 2Q 2007, reports Caribbean Net News (Jan.      undergoing renovations; Mainsail Resort, Marina &
29, 2007). The tele-economy of Barbados is now         Spa, to open in late 2007 on Scrub Island, is the first
more than US$250 million annually and growing,         new property here in more than 15 years; Mango
said Fidelity’s Head of Corporate Affairs Zoe          Bay and Paradise Beach Resort has been renovated
DeHavilland.                                           by new owners Paola Moretti-Flax and Dwight
                                                       Flax. Details: BVI Press Office: 866.491.8155.
  SAGE SOFTWARE. Sage Software (based in               Web: www.bvipressoffice.com.
Pleasanton, Cal.) on Feb. 6 said it has deployed of
Sage Accpac ERP (enterprise resource planning) at        SEABORNE HOPES TO ADD VIRGIN
SBI Distribution of St. Michael, Barbados, a           GORDA. Seaborne Airlines hopes to add a
supplier    of     brands    such     as     Nestle,   commercial seaplane route to Virgin Gorda by
Conagra, Lever Brothers, Frito Lay, Revlon, and        April, reports AP (Jan. 30, 2007). It needs the
Colgate to retail outlets here. Details: Mark          consent of a British regulatory agency, Air Safety
Priscaro. Director, Public Relations. Sage             Support International, said Omer ErSelcuk,
Software. (925) 931-7048. Email: mark.priscaro@        president of the U.S. Virgin Islands-based airline.
sage.com. Web: www. sageaccpac.com.                    A round-trip ticket from St. Thomas in the U.S.
                                                       Virgin Islands to North Sound, Virgin Gorda, will
                     BELIZE                            cost    about    US$150      (euro116).   Details:
                                                       www.seaborneairlines.com.
 MOST           BONDHOLDERS               ACCEPT
RESTRUCTURING. Holders of 93% of Belize's                                 COSTA RICA
debt agreed to exchange their bonds for securities
that mature in 2029, said National Development           US, CHINA DRIVE EXPORT BOOM. Trade
Minister Mark Espat, reports Bloomberg News            officials celebrated Costa Rica’s growing
(Feb. 6, 2007). Belize said on Aug. 2 it would seek    commercial success as they announced a record
to restructure its US$960 million of international     US$8.2 billion in exports in 2006, reports The Tico
bonds. Belize spends more than 27% of government       Times (Jan. 19-25, 2007):
revenue on servicing its debt, says Standard &
Poor's. On Dec. 7, Belize's foreign currency rating      News of the boom came as Costa Rica prepares
was lowered to selective default by S&P after the      to begin trade talks with the European Union this
government proposed the bond exchange. S&P             year and Asian countries in 2008 and beyond. Costa
lowered Belize's long-term foreign currency rating     Rica doesn’t maintain diplomatic relations with
to SD from CC and reduced the rating on the bonds      China, but traded US$1.1 billion last year, and
to D from CC because the exchange would cease          China emerged as its fastest-growing, second-
interest payments on the bonds.                        biggest trade partner behind the US. Costa Rica sent
                                                       US$3.4 billion worth of products to the US last
              BRITISH VIRGIN I.                        year;

  HOSPITAL CONTRACT SIGNED. Chief                        The two economic powerhouses accounting for
Minister Dr Orlando Smith and Health Minister          54.3% of Costa Rica’s total export market in 2006.
Ronnie Skelton signed the $63.9 million contract       Microprocessor parts, bananas, medical equipment,
with reps of Mirsand-Carimex-Quantum for the           pineapples and medications drove 16.6% export
start of construction work for the new Peebles         growth.
Hospital, reports Caribbean Net News (Jan. 24,
2007).                                                                    ***
                                                         SPIRIT FLIES TO SAN JOSE. Spirit Airlines
                                                       on Jan. 24 announced nonstop Mon-Thurs-Sat.
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          6


service between its Ft Lauderdale hub and San Jose,       The embargo means companies such as Irving,
beginning April 5, increasing to daily service by       Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. can't bid on Cuban
May 23. Details: Rebecca Rivera, 954-628-4827.          offshore oil tracts, agribusiness giants such as
Email: Rebecca. rivera @spiritair.com                   Decatur, Illinois-based Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.
                                                        face restrictions on wheat sales, and Miami-based
  Used/refurbished ice making and ice-cream             Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd can't send their cruise
machines are sought by a company here.                  ships to Havana;
Particularly Scotman brand, models MC45 and
MC15, and ice cream machines, particularly Taylor         Analysts predict that the demise of Fidel Castro
brand, models 161 and 754. Machines can also be in      could lead to a move in Congress to weaken the
bad/used conditions since the company has the           embargo. "I don't expect the end of the embargo for
capability of repairing and refurbishing them.          some time, but there could be easing in some areas,"
Quantity:    US$25,0000$50,000.     End     User:       said Wayne Smith, director for the Cuba program at
Restaurants of various sizes. Details: Gustavo          the Center for International Policy and the former
Campos Cordoba. Admin. Mgr. Phone: 506-229-             chief of mission at the US Interests Section in
5676         /       506-849-8585.         Email:       Havana. So far, the Bush administration has moved
cyaconsultores@gmail.com                                in the opposite direction, tightening a 2000 law that
                                                        allowed agricultural sales, making it tougher to send
                      CUBA                              money to family members in Cuba and clamping
                                                        down on travel visas.
  US WON’T EASE EMBARGO. US Commerce
Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, has ruled out easing of                               ***
the trade and travel embargo on Cuba until after all      SATELLITE ACCESS FROM VENEZUELA.
remnants of the Fidel Castro regime are removed         Venezuela will grant Cuba access to its first-ever
from power, reports Bloomberg News (Jan. 25,            satellite, to be launched in September, as ties
2007):                                                  between the states deepen and the health of Cuban
                                                        President Fidel Castro grows more uncertain,
  Gutierrez, who came to the US in 1960 as his          reports Bloomberg News (Jan. 25, 2007).
family fled Cuba, said Castro's frail health and the    Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez and Cuban VP
prospect for political change make this the wrong       Carlos Lage signed accords on telecommunications,
time to adjust restrictions on trade, investment or     steel and agriculture, calling for Venezuela to share
travel. At stake is a potential US$1 billion-a-year     use of its new "Simon Bolivar Satellite" and to
export market for US farm and other goods, the          spend up to 1.1 trillion bolivars (US$512 million) to
rebirth of a tourist haven for Americans and the end    create of joint ventures.
of almost five-decades of diplomatic isolation
between countries separated by a 112-mile                 NO ROOMS FOR CUBANS AT HILTON
waterway. President George W. Bush will resist          HOTELS. As part of the US economic blockade of
efforts by lawmakers to allow more visits or            Cuba, the American Hilton Hotel chain has
commerce with Cuba, he said;                            announced a denial of bookings to Cuban
                                                        delegations in all its facilities around the world,
  Castro, 80, ceded power to his brother Raul on        reports ACN (Feb. 6, 2007). A Cuban trade mission
July 31, 2006 as he underwent surgery. Gutierrez,       to a recent travel fair in Oslo, Norway, was denied a
53, called Raul Castro Fidel's "most loyal disciple,"   booking at a local Hilton hotel due to the US
and said he won't change the socialist economy or       embargo. Hilton is barring Cuban delegations from
political system in Cuba. Gutierrez has stumped for     all of its hotels elsewhere in the world, as are other
opening markets with socialist countries such as        US hotel companies. Hilton spokesperson in
China, arguing that commercial ties have led to         London Linda Bain said, ―If we took a booking
economic development, adult literacy and reduced        from a Cuban delegation, we would be subject to
poverty. Cuba is a different case, he said;             fines or prison."
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         7


  TV MINGLES EDUCATION AND NY COPS.                     Rhadames Segura, a Cabinet secretary and VP of
State-run TV here prides itself on its educational      the state energy company;
programs and the social values of its homegrown
soap operas but does not shy away from hits like          The lawsuit was filed in the Vienna-based United
―Law & Order‖ and ―CSI‖, reports AFP (Jan. 25,          Nations Commission on International Trade Law
2007). The US series and the soap operas, known as      and in the Paris-based International Chamber of
"telenovelas", draw a faithful audience. But the        Commerce. The claim dates back to 2004, when
education-oriented programs also have their fans in     TCW bought half the distribution company that
a country that boasts                                   powers six southeastern provinces and much of the
a 98% literacy rate.                                    capital of Santo Domingo. The other half is owned
                     DOMINICA                           by the state-run electricity company. It was not
                                                        immediately clear why Societe Generale is a party
  CHINESE DELEGATION VISITS. Chinese                    to the suit.
aid officials agreed to help speed up construction of
a highway linking the capital. Roseau, with                                     ***
Dominica’s second biggest city,         Portsmouth,       DR TO OPEN US TRADE OFFICES. Industry
reports AP (Feb. 7, 2007). Prime Minister Roosevelt     & Commerce Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said
Skerrit said Chinese engineers will arrive in late      the DR plans to open trade offices in 50 US states to
February to begin preliminary work on the highway       promote opportunities for US investors arising from
project. Dominica cut ties with Taiwan in March         DR-CAFTA, and to promote exports, reports Listin
2004 in exchange for a six-year, US$262 million         Diario (Jan. 19, 2007).
Chinese aid program.
                                                          NEW AIRPORT. The Juan Bosch International
  ENERGY SAVING BULBS. Cuba is helping to               Airport in El Catey, Samana, built for US$80
cut the cost of power via replacement of light bulbs    million, which has been receiving flights since Nov.
in households, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb. 1,      2006, was formally inaugurated, reports Listin
2007). Energy Minister Reginald Austrie says that       Diario (Feb. 8, 2007). President Fernandez said
280,000 energy saving bulbs are being placed by         US$115 million more will be invested to extend the
Cuban social workers. If the bulbs are not sufficient   Santo Domingo-Rincon de Molenillo highway in
to cover every household, Cuba will provide more,       Samana to the town of Nagua. The airport, built by
he said. A team of French consultants was               Aerodom, will serve the northeast, which has 2,400
scheduled to arrive on Feb. 9, to explore               hotel rooms. A plan is in the works to build 5,400
geothermal energy resources, he added.                  additional rooms in the next five years.

           DOMINICAN REPUBLIC                             FARM PRODUCTION UP. Farm items
                                                        contributed 14% to GDP in 2006, vs. 7.3% in 2005,
  INVESTMENT FIRMS SUE. Los Angeles-                    reports DR Daily News (Jan. 22, 2007). Farming
based TCW Group Inc. and France's Societe               was assisted by financing from public and private
Generale have sued the Dominican Republic for           sources. Some items in strong demand (garlic,
US$680 million (euro520 million) in electricity         avocado and plantains) saw increases of between
revenues they claim were lost to fraud and              46% and 183%, the latter in the case of garlic.
mismanagement, reports AP (Feb. 7, 2007):               Banana exports to the European Community grew
                                                        by 10,000 tons. Poultry and pork yields increased
  The action is another blow to a crippled              by 12% and 52% each. Rice grew moderately, aided
electrical sector that government seeks to rescue       by the new process of "crop mortgages".
from a decades-old cycle of blackouts and
bankruptcies. The lawsuit alleges the DR violated a       RURAL PROJECTS PLEDGED. President
deal by failing to crack down on rampant electricity    Leonel Fernandez said he will build highways and
theft, distributing too much power and not              bridges in rural areas of the DR, apparently
collecting enough money from customers, said            responding to criticism that he has neglected those
                                                        areas    as      the      presidential    campaign
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       8


season begins, reports AP (Feb. 1, 2007).              Listin Diario (Jan. 31,2007). New contracts include
Fernandez, expected to seek a third term in 2008,      construction of airplane turbine parts, computerized
pledged US$232 million to complete more than 100       architectural design for New York City Hall,
projects this year, including a highway connecting     patterns for clothing, test drive car dummies,
towns along the Haitian border.                        pacemakers, software, printer ink cartridges,
                                                       American Airlines tickets, even breaded eggplant.
    NICKEL ZONE DISCOVERY. Toronto-based               The DR is only a 90-minute plane flight from the
GlobeStar Mining Corp. on Feb. 9 announced the         US market; ships from China take seven weeks.
discovery of nickel bearing laterites at Loma Mala,    Luisa Fernandez, director of the National Council of
located 1.5 kms southwest of its Cumpié Hill nickel    Free Zones (CNZFE) said the DR attracted a
laterite discovery and 8.5 kms from Xstrata's          company that produces baby music carousels that
Falcondo nickel smelter. On Feb. 2 GlobeStar said      were made in China. Apparel factories now
it is focusing on three core activities here:          comprise just 41% of the sector. Of the 83 firms
construction of the Cerro de Maimón copper/gold        that sought authorization to operate in the DR last
mine, copper/gold exploration of the surrounding       year, only 14.5% were apparel companies. In 2006,
massive sulphide belt and nickel exploration of the    free zone exports totaled US$4.49 billion, vs.
Falcondo nickel belt. Details: Dale Paruk, Coal        US$4.73 billion in 2005.
Harbor Communications. Email: dale@coal-
harbor.com                                                ROKI       KI      RESORT         COMMUNITY
                                                       UNFOLDS. Phase I of the Roco Ki luxury resort
  BEAR STEARNS SEES LOW INFLATION.                     and residential development in Punta Cana is being
Bear Stearns analyst Franco Ucceli says the low        readied for opening in winter 2007/2008, it was
inflation rate, just 5% as reported by the Dominican   reported Jan. 25. Sarasota-based Michael Saunders
Central Bank, is an example of the DR's prevailing     & Co. is exclusive broker for the new 2,700-acre
monetary stability, reports Diario Libre (Jan. 22,     oceanfront property. A U.S. $85-million loan was
2007). The "0.7% inflation rate for December           approved to finance the development. Phase I will
closed 2006 at 5%, less than the 7.4% reported for     include: The Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf Resort,
2005. This was the lowest rate since 2001, when it     a Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Hotel,
was reported at 4.4%", he said.                        with 327 rooms and 130 Westin-branded condo
                                                       residences, a conference center for up to 500
  SHIP PROHIBITION LIFTED. Washington                  persons, 7 restaurants, several bars, and an 18,000-
has lifted a ban on Dominican commercial ship          sq ft spa. Details: YPB&R,Orlando,Fla. Kathy
travel to US ports that had been in effect since       Hernandez.       Tel:     407-838-1828.       Email:
2003, reports DR1 Daily News (Jan. 23, 2007). US       Kathy.Hernandez@ypbr.com
Coast Guard Rear Admiral D.W. Kunkel
commended Specialized Port Security Corps                CHEAP POULTRY. The Ministry of
(CESEP) efforts that lead to the lifting of the ban    Agriculture (SEA) is selling poultry cheaply due to
that benefits 6 of 12 DR ports. Rear Adm. Hector A.    massive over-production,, reports DR1 Daily News
Lizardo said ships from Haina (Oriental and            (Jan. 17, 2007). Several government organizations
Occidental), La Romana, Cayo Levantado                 are contributing to the program that set up hundreds
(Samana), Multimodal Caucedo and Molinos               of sales points to provide inexpensive poultry to
Modernos (Santo Domingo) are now cleared to            consumers. Prices start at RD$11.00 per pound at
depart to the US without crew or cargo needing a       the farm. RD$60.00 should purchase a frozen three-
previous inspection by US authorities. The             pound or more broiler chicken. Agriculture Minister
restrictions were imposed on the DR and many           Salvador Jimenez said the low prices should last
other nations after the 9/11 attacks on the US.        during the January and February.

  DIVERSIFYING         IN     FREE       ZONES.          FINANCIAL          SECTOR         TECHNICAL
Manufacturing at free zones continues to diversify     ASSISTANCE. The DR has received a World
as the DR moves away from traditional apparel          Bank loan for Financial Sector Technical Assistance
operations due to competition from China, reports      (No.7216-DO; Proyecto No. P078838). Part of the
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          9


funds will be used for Real Time Gross Liquidation       resort, named Buccaneer's Creek, reopened in Dec.
System and Related Applications. Deadline: March         2005 after undergoing a US$60 million (euro46.1
15, 2007. Refer to: LPI No. SP02-2006. Details:          million) renovation.
Banco Central de la República Dominicana. Atn:
Lic. Fabiola Herrera, Directora Depto Sistemas de                            GRENADA
Pagos. Av. Pedro Henríquez Ureña, esq. Leopoldo
Navarro. Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional. Tel:            TAIWAN SUES. Taiwan’s Export-Import Bank
(809) 221-9111 Ext.3409/ 3416. Fax: (809) 688-           is suing              the Grenada government in the
3065. Email: ipard@bancentral.gov.do. Web:               U.S. Southern District Court of New York, for loans
www.bancentral.gov.do                                    Grenada made before it switched diplomatic
                                                         relations to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC),
  SCRAP EXPORTS PUSH MINING. Exports of                  reports Caribbean Investor (Feb. 7, 2007). Taiwan
"scrap" metal are pushing out mining for leadership      seeks to recover US$21.6 million from the Grenada
in the industry, reports Diario Libre (Jan. 17,          plus interest for loans taken by the government of
2007). Iron, copper and steel scrap are exported in      Prime Minister Keith Mitchell for construction of
quantities close to exceeding the ferro-nickel ingots    the sports stadium at Queen's Park, the ministerial
from the Falconbridge mine in Bonao. In 2006,            complex in the Botanical Gardens, the agricultural
"scrap" exports of steel and iron totaled 93,540 tons.   sector and for road construction projects on
980 tons of zinc and nickel was exported, along          Grenada and in the sister island of Carriacou.
with 1300 tons of copper. These metals are shipped       Taiwan is represented by the firm of Sullivan &
overseas, mostly to China where construction of the      Worchester.
world's largest hydroelectric dam project is leading
to a huge increase in the demand for metals.               FIBER            OPTIC            TECHNOLOGY
Demand is also part of the push to steal metals from     INTRODUCED. The latest fiber-optic submarine
power transmission lines, phone lines, manhole           cable technology in the Caribbean, intended to link
covers and iron park benches. During the first eight     the OECS countries, was introduced to Grenada,
months of 2006, exports of "scrap" iron and steel        reports Caribbean Net News (Jan. 25, 2007). The
totaled over US$18 million.                              link will start from the north in Puerto Rico, moving
                                                         south to Trinidad. The cable will make available
  MAMAJUANA LOVE DRINK LAUNCHES                          all services currently provided by the telecom giant
IN US. Herbal liqueur mix maker Don Ramon                Cable & Wireless, including internet and land line
Mamajuana, Corp. announced the US launch of its          telephone connections.
Don Ramon Mamajuan, on Feb. 27. Described as a
natural aphrodisiac, this blend of 20 roots, herbs,                        GUATEMALA
and spices native to the Dominican Republic has
been used for centuries as a powerful vitality drink.      RURAL        ROADS       &      MAIN       ROADS
                                                         PROGRAM. Guatemala has received financing
            FRENCH WEST INDIES                           from The World Bank for Phase II of its Rural
                                                         Roads and Main Highways Program. (Préstamo
  WORKERS STRIKE AT CLUB MED. A strike                   No. 7169-GU; Proyecto ID: P055085). Part of the
at the Club Med resort in Martinique prompted            funds will be used for rehab of rural roads in several
hundreds of guests to leave while management and         communities. Deadline: March 9, 2007. Refer to:
employees negotiate, reports AP (Jan. 25, 2007).         LPI01A-2007.       Details: Instituto de Fomento
The strike began due to a dispute              over      Municipal –INFOM. Unidad Coordinadora de
how the workers would split up the 35-hour work          Caminos Rurales INFOM – Banco Mundial. 8ª
week required under French law, said Kate Moeller,       Calle 1-66 Zona 9, 4to. Nivel, Edif. INFOM. Ciudad
a spokeswoman for Club Mediterranee SA's North           de Guatemala, 01009, Guatemala. Tel: (502) 2422-
American and Caribbean operations. Many of the           6900 Ext. 1251, 1215, 1407 y 1409. Fax: (502)
525 guests from Canada, Europe and the US flew           2334-1074.             Correo            electrónico:
home or opted to stay at other hotels in Martinique      caminosrurales@infom.org.gt
offered by Club Med after the strike began. The
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                        10


  PROCUREMENT VIA UN FUNDS. Guatemala                     the press, reports AP (Feb. 7, 2007). The
has received funds from the UN Development                withdrawal of notices by Guyana's tax department
Program (UNDP) to Strengthen the Ministry of              and the national sugar company was ―politically
Communications, Infrastructure and Housing                motivated‖ and followed verbal attacks by
(GUA/04/041). Part of the funds will be used to           government officials, said editor in chief David
procure computers, printers and photocopiers.             DeCaires.
Deadline: March 15, 2007. Refer to GUA/04/041-
378/07 Also sought will be excavators with capacity         TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE REHAB.
of 19,000 to 22,000 kgs. Deadline: March 8, 2007.         Guyana has received US$24.3 million from the
Refer to: GUA/04/041-369/07. Details: Programa            Inter-American Development Bank for Rehab of
de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Sección        Transport Infrastructure (No. 1803/SF-GY). Funds
de Adquisición de Bienes y Servicios.. Edif Euro          will be used for general procurement, including
Plaza World Business Center. 5ª Avda 5-55, Zona           including consultants. No bid deadline announced.
14, Torre IV, Nivel 10. Ciudad Guatemala, 01014,          Details: Rickford Lowe.       Coordinator. Works
Guatemala. Tel: (502) 2384-3238. Fax: (502) 2384-         Services Group. Ministry of Public Works and
3202. E-mail: abs.gt@undp.org. Web site:                  Communications. Fort St., Kingston. Georgetown,
www.pnudguatemala.org.             Guatecompras:          Guyana. Tel: (592) 226-0650. Fax: (592) 225-2689.
www.guatecompras.gt                                       E-mail: wsg@ewirelessgy.com

  Plastic film for food packaging is sought by a            IDB FUNDS TO HELP REFORM POLICE.
firm here, but especially for food and meat. Foam         The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has
trays, bag-in-box, film to palletize, food pouches,       made available US$22 million to help Guyana
thermo-shrink bags and film. Also interested in           reform its police force, reports Caribbean Net News
machinery to process the packaging of food and            (Feb. 2, 2007). The citizens’ security program will
meat. Firm is a distributor of machinery and raw          target poor neighborhoods in Demerara and
materials for the food industry and sells to plants.      Berbice, two of the country’s more heavily
Details: Inter-Americana.Ing. Ricardo Munguia.            populated areas. Training will establish a special
Gen. Mgr. Phone: (502) 2366-5803. Fax: (502)              crime-fighting unit. More than 100 police stations
2366-5824. Email: info_inter-americana.com                will be upgraded while 72 new stations will be
                                                          erected. Since 2002, Guyana has seen sporadic
                     GUYANA                               bursts of criminal activity, involving narcotics and
                                                          gangs.
  VENEZUELA TO SUPPLY HALF OF OIL
NEEDS. Venezuela's said it will supply half of              HOTEL GAMBLING BILL APPROVED.
Guyana's oil needs after signing an accord with its       Parliament has approved limited casino gambling in
neighbor, reports AFP(Jan. 25, 2007). The deal is         some hotels scheduled to open ahead of this year's
the latest by Petrocaribe, launched by Venezuelan         cricket World Cup, reports AP (Jan. 23, 2007). The
Pres. Hugo Chavez in June 2005 to expand his              proposal prompted street marches by the political
nation's political clout in the region. State-owned       opposition and religious groups who argue it will
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) will supply             encourage vice and organized crime. The ruling
5,200 barrels of oil per day to Guyana (population        party said the bill, backed by President Bharrat
of 700,000). Venezuela also agreed to accept              Jagdeo, was necessary to help hoteliers recoup
commodities, notably agricultural products, as            investments made ahead of the World Cup. Up to
payment and would lend Guyana up to 40% of the            100,000 visitors are expected in the region for the
cost to buy its oil, at 1%, if petrol prices top US$40.   tournament, which runs from March 13-April 28,
                                                          with matches here and eight other Caribbean
  GOVT.       WITHDRAWS          ADS      FROM            countries. The legislation provides for up to 30
LEADING PAPER. Government has withdrawn                   gambling licenses. No hotels here would meet the
all ads from the Stabroek News, the country's             conditions for a license – which include having a
leading daily, a move criticized by international         minimum 250 rooms - but two high-end hotels
media watchdog groups as an attempt to intimidate         under construction near a new cricket stadium
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       11


would be eligible. Only foreigners would be                                Market Overview
permitted to wager.
                                                         U.S. exporters enjoy an enviable position in the
                      HAITI                            Honduran market, and will see this position
                                                       improve after the implementation of the Central
  HIGHWAY REHAB. Haiti has received a loan             American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
from the Inter-American Development Bank for           The US, joined by Honduras, El Salvador,
Rehabilitation of the Transport Sector (Prêt           Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the
1638/SF-HA). Part of the funds will be used for        Dominican Republic, signed the Central American
rehab of Highway Nationale No. 1. Deadline:            Free Trade
March 9, 2007.       Refer to: Appel d’offres          Agreement (CAFTA) in August 2004:
international No. AOI 008/06/1638. Details:
Ministère des travaux publics, transports et              CAFTA-DR will lower tariffs on US goods
communications. Attn: Unité centrale d’exécution       destined for the Central American market. In the
(UCE). Palais des Ministères. Port-au-Prince,          past decade, US exports have increased in dollar
Haïti. Tel: (509) 245-5377, 510-0316, 222-3230,        value and market share. Strong prospects for
228-2530, 222-0714. Fax: (509) 223-4519. E-mail:       exports: franchising; food processing; auto parts &
mtptchaiti@yahoo.fr                                    service equipment; safety & security equipment;
                                                       computers & peripherals; computer services;
  CANADIAN AID TO QUELL VIOLENCE.                      textiles & equipment; telecommunications; electric
Canada will donate Can$10 million (US$8.45             power generation equipment;
million) to help reform Haiti's police and curb
violence, said Foreign Affairs Minister Peter            The US supplies over half of Honduras’ imports
MacKay, reports, AFP (Feb. 6, 2007). Funds will be     and buys 65% of its exports. US exports to
used to build a new police headquarters, equip         Honduras were US$3.1 billion, up 8.9% from the
police officers, improve security in communities       previous year (2004). Honduras’ tariffs on most
most affected by gangs, counsel victims of violence    goods from outside the Central American Common
and launch social programs to address poverty. The     Market (CACM) are within the zero to 15% range.
monies are part of a Can$15 million (US$12.7           Once the CAFTA-DR goes into effect, about 80%
million) contribution announced in June 2006 to        of US goods will enter the region duty-free, with the
support efforts through the Global Peace and           remaining tariffs phased out over 10 years. Nearly
Security Fund.                                         all textile and apparel goods that meet the
                                                       Agreement’s rules of origin will be duty-free and
  SPIRIT FLIES TO HAITI. Spirit Airlines on            quota-free     immediately,      promoting       new
Jan. 18 announced new nonstop service from its Ft      opportunities for US fiber, yarn, fabric, and apparel
Lauderdale hub to Port-au-Prince, beginning March      manufacturing. Honduras is the third largest
22, 2007. Spirit will offer service three times        exporter of apparel and textile products to the US
weekly to Port-au-Prince increasing to daily service   market behind Mexico and China, and the first
on May 1, 2007. Details: Rebecca Rivera, 954-628-      among Central American and Caribbean countries;
4827. Email: Rebecca.rivera@spiritair.com.
                                                         US companies invested US$122.5 million in
                  HONDURAS                             Honduras in 2004, which was 26% of all new
                                                       foreign direct investment (FDI) here. The
  DOING BUSINESS IN HONDURAS. The U.S.                 government is generally open to foreign investment,
Dept. of Commerce has produced a 125-page              although some investors have experienced long
Country Commercial Guide which offers helpful          waiting periods for environmental permits and
information on doing business in or with Honduras.     concessions.
Excerpts follow. If you wish to read the complete
report, Email me (kalwagenheim@cs.com). I’ll                            Market Challenges
Email it to you as a file attachment.
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                        12


  Local, congressional, and presidential elections in   project that could generate potential harm to the
Nov. 2005 were deemed fair and free by domestic         environment, natural resources, or national cultural
and international observers, and the opposition         and historical sites, is an Environmental Impact
Liberal party candidate Mel Zelaya won a close          Assessment, to be obtained through the Ministry of
presidential race. The new government took office       Natural Resources and the Environment (SERNA).
in 2006. Historically, Honduras has experienced         Details: http://www.sic.gob.hn.
reduced GDP growth in each post-election year.
                                                                                Franchising
  Personal security is a major concern, with theft,
pick pockets, and armed robberies occurring               About 60 foreign firms now operate here under
frequently in urban areas. Honduras has a very high     franchising agreements. Most are US fast-food and
incidence of murder and other violent crimes,           casual restaurants, such as: T.G.I. Friday's,
although tourists and business people are not           Applebee's, Tony Roma's, Ruby Tuesdays, Pizza
generally targets. The lack of judicial security, a     Hut, McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway, Burger King,
deteriorating security environment, and endemic         Church's Chicken, Sbarro, Cinnabon, Pretzels,
corruption pose real risks, making business disputes    Popeye's, Domino's Pizza, Quiznos, Dunkin
difficult to resolve.                                   Donuts/ Baskin-Robbins, Little Caesar's and
                                                        Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC);
              Market Entry Strategy
                                                          Other foreign franchises are auto aftermarket
  The country can be thought of as divided into two     services, clothing, movies & entertainment,
regions: the North Coast, including San Pedro Sula,     cleaning & pest control, health & fitness,
the country’s commercial and industrial capital; and    electronics, cosmetics & toiletries, business
the Central region, where Tegucigalpa, the political    services, convenience stores, dry-cleaners, car
capital and largest city, is located. A single          rentals, mailing, and fast-printing. Several major
distributor or representative can cover all of          hotel chains are building new facilities or acquiring
Honduras. Representatives and distributors tend to      existing properties, such as Holiday Inn, Real Inter-
carry rather broad lines on a non-exclusive basis.      Continental, Clarion Hotels, Best Western, Microtel
                                                        Inn and Marriott International. Honduras has no
  Foreigners exporting to Honduras are not              locally developed franchises.
required to sell through an agent or distributor,
except when selling to the government. But                               Direct Marketing
appointing a local agent, representative, or legal
advisor is strongly recommended to help with              Telecom and mail delivery infrastructures are not
import procedures, sales promotion and after-sales      well developed. Obtaining reliable addresses is
service.                                                problematic, as the use of ―reference‖ addresses
                                                        (and not street names and numbers) is the common
  Exporters are required to register certain            practice. Mail advertising of products and services
products before they can be sold here.                  is generally conducted through credit card
Pharmaceuticals, food items and medicine-related        companies, limiting the target market only to their
products must be registered with the Ministry of        respective credit card holders. Local company
Public Health. Agro-chemicals and animal feeds          listings and mailing information can be obtained
must be registered with the Ministry of Natural         through local chambers of commerce and industry
Resources.                                              associations.

              Establishing an Office                      Growth in Cable TV and internet subscriber
                                                        markets is creating increased opportunities for
  The steps for launching a business in Honduras        direct TV sales and e-mail-based promotional
have been reduced from up to 6 months to an             campaigns. Among the companies that utilize non-
average of 42 days. An important requirement for        conventional distribution channels are TV Offer,
operating a business here, in connection to any
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          13


Ofertel (direct response TV), Avon Oriflame and             Internet connectivity is rapidly developing. Most
Rommanel (catalog and door-to-door sales).                government agencies use web-based infrastructure
                                                          to facilitate information and electronic processing of
                            ***                           documents, promote investment, and improve
                                                          general services to the public.
             Joint Ventures/Licensing
                                                            An increasing number of private sector
  With few exceptions, there are no limits on the         companies also use e-commerce. Several consumer
percentage of capital that can be owned by a              trade sites and gateways market products and
foreigner. The greatest opportunities can be found        services via the internet, especially in
in the industrial, mining, agricultural, tourism,         grocery/foods, consumer household products, and
power generation, forestry, construction, and             tourism services. Among the most popular sites are:
service sectors.                                            www.mallcredomatic.com; www.honduras.net;
                                                            w.hondumall.com;
  The Foundation for Investment and                         www.aeropost.com; www.floresenlaweb.com;
Development of Exports (FIDE), a private                    www.lacuracaonet.com;
institution, works with local businesses to                 www.ladylee.com; www.invitrohonduras.com;
strengthen their capacity to attract foreign joint          www.honduflowers.com;
venture partners, and locates facilities for investors.     www.phoneservehn.com;
Details: www.hondurasinfo.hn.                             www.catracholandia.com;
                                                            www.atelierdelamoda.com;
  Majority Honduran ownership is required in                www.ahoracompro.com; www.equipos.hn;
certain types of industries. There are also limits on       www.hondurasweb.com
the amount of land a single corporation may own.                   Trade Promotion & Advertising

            Selling to the Government                       Most advertising is conducted through newspaper,
                                                          TV, and radio. Billboards are also a strong
  Foreign firms are required to act through a local       medium, especially as vehicle traffic increases in
agent. By law, local agency firms must be at least        the main urban areas. Several advertising agencies
51% Honduran-owned, unless the procurement is             guide companies through the process of developing
classified as a national emergency. (Once CAFTA           promotional activities.
enters into force, this provision will be eliminated.)
Government has tried to improve transparency and                        Honduran Newspapers
fairness hiring the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) to manage procurement for an                 Diario El Heraldo Diario La Tribuna.
increasing number of ministries and state-owned           Spanish/Daily Spanish/Daily. Sub-Director: Maria
entities. US companies have alleged bid                   Antonia Martinez Manager: Manuel Acosta
requirements were written so narrowly that they           Medina. P.O. Box 1938 P.O. Box 1501.
favored a particular company from the outset and          Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., Honduras Comayaguela,
that UNDP management of invitation-only, limited-         M.D.C., Honduras. Tel: (504) 236-6000 Tel: (504)
bid process was not transparent.                          233-1283. Fax: (504) 221-0778 Fax: (504) 234-
                                                          2755.     E-mail:    diario@heraldo.hn      E-mail:
  Distribution channels: New investments in the           macosta@latribuna.hn. Http:// www. heraldo.com
construction of large shopping malls and other            Http://www.latribuna.com
mixed-use commercial centers in strategic urban             Semanario Tiempos del Mundo Honduras This
areas, as well as big retail stores such as PriceSmart    Week. Spanish/Weekly English/Weekly. Director:
and HyperPaiz, are a good indicator of increased          William Cook Manager: Mario Gutiérrez. No P.O.
opportunities in the retail distribution sector.          Box available P.O. Box 1323. San Pedro, de
                                                          Ferretería El Mar Tegucigalpa M.D.C. Honduras.
               Electronic Commerce                        100 Sur, San José Costa Rica Tel: (504) 239-0285
                      Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                        14


Tel: (506) 280-2332 Fax: (504) 232-2300. Http://       The government controls prices for coffee and
www. tdm.com E-mail: hontweek@hondutel.hn.           medicines, and regulates prices of gasoline, diesel,
Http:// www. hondurasthisweek.com                    and liquid propane gas. It also keeps an informal
                                                     control over certain staple products, such as milk
       San Pedro Sula Based Newspapers               and sugar, by pressuring producers and retailers to
                                                     keep prices as low as possible. The local sales tax is
  Diario La Prensa Diario El Tiempo.                 12% for most goods. Products exempted from the
Spanish/Daily Spanish/Daily. Director: Nelson        tax include staple foods; purified water; fuels;
Fernández Manager: Carlos Rosenthal. P.O. Box        medicines and pharmaceuticals; agrochemicals;
143 P.O. Box 450. San Pedro Sula, Honduras San       educational materials; electrical power generation
Pedro Sula, Honduras. Tel: (504) 553-3101 Tel:       machinery & equipment; agricultural machinery &
(504) 553-3388. Fax: (504) 553-4020 Fax: (504)       tools; handicrafts; trucks, tractors, cranes,
553-4590                                             computers, and maquiladora industry equipment.
E-mail:        nelson@laprensa.hn        E-mail:
fmotta@continental.hn                                  A 15% sales tax is also assessed on new cars,
E-mail:       correos@laprensa.hn       E-mail:      alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco products. Exempt
tiempo@continental.hn                                services include utilities (electrical power and
Http://www.laprensahn.com Http://www.tiempo.hn       potable water), educational services, professional
                                                     fees (legal, accounting, engineering, etc.), clinical &
          Honduran Business Journals                 medical services, land transportation services,
                                                     banking, insurance & financial services. Tourism
  Estrategia & Negocios. Spanish/Monthly. Silvia     services are subject to a 4% tax; air transportation is
de Angulo,Manager. Barrio Rio de Piedras 7th         subject to a 10% tax.
Calle entre 19-20 Ave. S.O. Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Tel. (504) 553-5157. Fax. (504) 553-5157. E-mail:                       Due Diligence
sestynegsus@sulanet.net
  Hablemos Claro Financiero. Regina Wong Ayl,          Performing due diligence here can be time-
Manager Ed. Torrelibertad Blv. Suyapa Col.           consuming and difficult. There are few sources of
Florencia Sur, Entre Ed. Leme y Escuela Antares.     independently verifiable information. There are no
Tel. (504) 239-4350 / 239-3916 Fax. (504) 239-       publicly listed Honduran companies and rarely do
7008. E-mail: anuncios@hablemosclaro.com             they publish information about their officers, sales
http://www.hablemosclaro.com                         or financial information. Most companies are sole
                                                     proprietorships and partnerships, and business
               Trade Promotion:                      generally is conducted based upon personal
                                                     reputation and contacts. Companies should request
 Most local trade exhibits are organized by the      bank and trade references from potential agents and
Foundation for Investment and Development of         customers, and also consult with their own banks
Exports (FIDE), as well as by the Chambers of        for information on Honduran banks. Another source
Commerce of Cortés (CCIC) and the Chamber of         is the International Company Profile (ICP), which
Commerce of Tegucigalpa (CCIC).                      can be ordered through any US office of the US &
                                                     Foreign Commercial Service (US Export Assistance
  Expocentro, in San Pedro Sula, the biggest local   Centers).
trade exhibit center, holds about 12 trade shows a
year. Details: Expocentro. P.O. Box 14, San Pedro                Local Professional Services
Sula, Cortés, Honduras Tel: (504) 566-0345 up to
48; Fax: (504) 566-0344. Lilia Urrutia de              Selecting a competent and reliable local attorney
Hernandez, Mgr.                                      is an important first step. A list of attorneys that
                                                     have experience assisting US firms is posted on the
                     Pricing                         US            Embassy's         website           at
                                                     http://honduras.usembassy.gov/
                                                     attorneylistjune05.pdf
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         15


                                                        will need to invest about US$125 million.
    Leading Sectors for Export & Investment             Modernization investments are also foreseen in
                                                        fiber optics; PCS; microwave network; fixed
  Telecom equipment & services. Market size:            wireless band width access; and expansion of the
US$200 million (2006). The sector is evolving           telephone operating-center, submarine cable
towards competitive markets led by the private          network, and trunking system.
sector. Entrance of new players through the
―Telephony for All (TpT)‖ project, launched in           Resources: National Telecommunications
2003, generated profound changes in market              Commission http://www.conatel.hn
structure, stimulating growth and modernization.          Telecom Utility Company (Hondutel)
The market opened to competition on Dec. 25,            http://www.hondutel.hn
2005, when Hondutel, lost its exclusivity for long
distance services. Future passage of the new                     Security and Safety Equipment
Telecom Framework Law, under legislative review,
is expected to stimulate competition and                  Market Size: US$11 million, all imported (2006).
investment, simplify licensing procedures, and          Elevated crime rates have increased demand for
strengthen the sector’s regulatory entity (Conatel);    safety and security equipment. The market will
                                                        grow by an estimated 17% for the next three years,
  Access to telecom service remains well below the      as security clients look to replace guards with
Latin American average. The number of fixed lines       technology. The US supplies 86% of imports,
in service by year-end 2005 was 492,000 (6.85 lines     followed by Canada, Taiwan, France and Japan;
per 100 inhabitants). Estimated telephony demand
for 2006 is 752,605 lines.                                New private housing projects contemplate
                                                        installation of home security systems. Demand for
  Best Products/Services: Promising sub-sectors         electronic alarm systems is also on the rise for
include wireless telephone systems and equipment;       commerce and banks. The Ministry of Security has
data transmission equipment; fiber-optic equipment,     been authorized to make direct purchases of modern
internet, VoIP, and broadband integrated solutions.     technology for safety and security purposes.
Mobile telephony expansion and internet access
have been the highest growth areas. Opportunities         Best     Prospects:     Electronic      surveillance
exist for value added and triple-play services, such    equipment, Biometric systems, Alarm systems
as those including telephony, broadband internet        (fire/burglar), TV closed circuits, Security Cameras,
access, and video. New hand-off mobile                  Electric residential fences, Armored Vehicles,
technologies (WiMax and protocol 802.16e) also          Protective Clothing, X-ray Inspection Equipment,
look promising.                                         Safes and Strong Boxes, Sprinkler Systems, Smoke
                                                        Detectors, Fire Extinguishers, Vehicle Alarm
  Opportunities: Central Americ and Mexico plan         Systems,
to develop a US$60 million fiber optic broadband        Airport and sea port safety & security equipment
telecom network project, the Mesoamerican               (including terminal X-ray equipment, closed circuit
Information Highway. To be completed by early           cameras, customs         & baggage inspection
2008 and supported by the IADB and CABEI, it            equipment).
will utilize the region’s existing electricity
transmission infrastructure;                              Opportunities: In compliance with the US
                                                        Customs Service’s Container Security Initiative, the
  Increased liberalization is expected to stimulate     National Port Authority has obtained maritime
the new telecom services. Further expansion is also     certification, encompassing the acquisition of
anticipated, as the various new operators compete to    technology to pre-screen cargo containers before
service the current unsatisfied demand for fixed        they arrive at US ports. Equipment needed includes
telephony. As Hondutel enters into the mobile           x-ray inspection equipment, security cameras and
telephony market as the third cellular operator here,   other electronic security devices. The four airports
through the recently awarded Band B concession, it      are also undergoing urgent improvements.
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         16


                                                        automotive aftermarket trade event in the US.
  Resources: Honduras Trade Portal http://www.          Details: www.aaiwshow.com.
hondurastradeportal.com
                                                         Resources: Honduran Association of
     Automotive Parts / Service Equipment               Automotive Dealers and Distributors of Automotive
                                                        Parts & Accessories http://www.ahdiva.com
  Market Size: US$125.6 million, all imported                              Franchising
(2006). Growth of 10% is estimated over the next 3
years. An aging car population fuels demand for           Overview: Honduras’ population is estimated at
auto parts & accessories. About 70% of vehicles are     6.9 million (Dec. 2005). Tegucigalpa (the capital, at
at least 5 years old. The US is a major supplier,       1.2 million); San Pedro Sula (the main business
along with Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, Brazil,         center, at 850,000). Honduras has over 60
Mexico, Germany and the UK.                             international franchises concentrated in these two
                                                        main cities.
  Public service transport units are major end-
users of auto parts and accessories. Most urban            The market is expected to grow 10% yearly
transport fleets use buses which are 80% obsolete.      during the next 3 years. Great interest exists to open
The replacement needs for urban buses alone is          new franchises, as can be observed during the
estimated at US$60 million.                             International Franchise Expo (IFE). Honduras
                                                        participates annually, with a delegation of local
  More than 300 retailers buy directly from             businesspeople recruited by the Commercial
overseas or through local distributors. Japanese cars   Service through the International Buyer Program
and light trucks dominate the market but parts are      (IBP).
often purchased through the US. US-made pickups,
SUVs, heavy trucks and buses have strong market           Best Prospects/Services: In addition to the
shares. Recent tariff changes for autos include a       food/beverage and casual dining sub-sector, demand
reduction in tariffs, elimination of the disadvantage   for convenience, hotels/ motels & resorts, and
to US vehicles vs. Japanese models as Honduras          entertainment services is growing rapidly. These
rescinded the tariff based on engine size, and          include dry cleaning, pest control, day care learning
implementation of a ban on imports of used vehicles     centers, security, advertising, real estate, discount
more than 7 years old.                                  stores, convenience store/pharmacy, cosmetics and
                                                        toiletries, casual clothing, and video rentals.
  Best Prospects: All types of engine spare parts;
Electrical   &    brake     system    components;         Opportunities: Strong efforts to promote
transmission & suspension parts; tires; wheels;         Honduras as a tourism destination resulted in 78%
bumpers; spoilers; tail lights; mobile electronics;     increase in visitors for the period 2002-2005.
alarms; sound systems; repair shop, paint, tools &      Government is encouraging investments in large
equipment; emission control equipment; batteries;       projects, such as the Tela Bay tourism complex,
auto accessories;                                       which will bring franchise concept opportunities in
                                                        connection to the establishment of hotels,
  Opportunities: All passenger motor vehicles           restaurants, and beach resorts. Urban modernization
must be fitted with an emissions control system or      and a consumer-oriented society are attracting
catalytic converter. This, coupled with the growing     investments in large shopping malls and retail
demand for effective emissions control devices,         outlets.
should generate demand for parts.
                                                          Resources: International Franchise Expo
  The US Commercial Service Office in                   http://www.franchiseexpo.com
Tegucigalpa annually recruits and leads a delegation
of Honduran automotive aftermarket leaders to the          Textile Machinery, Equipment and fabrics
AAIW (Sema/AAPEX) show in Las Vegas,
Nevada, the most important retail and specialty
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         17


  Overview: Total Market Size: US$30 million             Quick Frost fruit and vegetables; Milk cooling
(2006). Honduras is the third largest exporter of        tanks.
apparel and textile products to the US market. With
private construction of modern industrial parks,                    Computers and Peripherals
Honduras hosts some of the region’s most
successful textile manufacturers. Over 40% of the          Market Size: US$64.4 million (2006). Most
companies in export processing zones are of US           imports are from the US, but many Asian countries
origin. The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act        have large distribution centers in Miami; trans-
(CBTPA) has made the country more attractive to          shipment data is not reflected in local import
drawback factory investment, construction and            statistics. Increased IT modernization needs new
expansion of industrial parks, and dyes to               products. E-Government initiatives, and increasing
manufacture and process textile products. Average        interest in Internet access have fueled demand.
annual growth rate for the industry is 5-7% for the      Small businesses, medium-sized enterprises, and
next three years.                                        households are emerging as important customers as
                                                         a result of Internet popularity and expansion.
  Best Prospects/Services: Full Package Programs;        Although still low compared to other Latin
Fabric producers starting from the Spinning              American countries, with a penetration of 0.32%
process; Opening of woven textile companies;             per 100 inhabitants, average annual growth rate for
Accessories to be produced in order to supply the        internet coverage is 41.3%. Leading computer
full package companies: trims, zippers, buttons,         brands are Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM.
yarn, boxes, plastic bags, hangers, thread, etc.         Honduras does not apply import duties to computer
                                                         equipment and most software. Estimated average
  Opportunities: Honduras owns the most                  growth rate is 10-15% for 2006-2008. Honduras is
important Port in the region, Puerto Cortes. It plans    the fourth largest market for computer equipment in
to be the textile hub of the region in the next 2        the CAFTA region.
years. It is the No. 1 importer of Yarn in the region,
importing more than 170 million kg. per year;              Best Products/Services: Computer systems, parts
                                                         and peripheral equipment, including: storage
 Resources: Honduran Manufacturers Association:          devices and digitizers; Hard disks; Keyboard units;
www.ahm-honduras.com                                     monitors; Server Systems; Modems; CD-Rom
                                                         Drives; Single and Multifunction Printer Units;
         Food Processing and Packaging                   Memory modules and parts for printers; PCs;
                                                         Software/Multimedia:       Specialized    software
  Market Size: US$13.2 million (2006). The US            applications (accounting, financial); General
continues to be the largest supplier of this             Business Application solutions for Windows;
equipment.                                               Systems     supporting       software;    Software
                                                         development/programming tools; Software games.
  Best Products/Services: Industrial Machinery,
equipment for food and beverage production; Can            Opportunities: A government priority for 2006-
Sealing machines; Packaging & wrapping                   2010 is provision of computer equipment for the
machinery; Machinery parts; Machinery for                public educational network. Development of digital
processing of fruits, nuts & vegetables; Machinery       libraries and virtual laboratories are also important
for the preparation of manufactured foods, drinks.       initiatives underway between the Honduras
                                                         National University and private colleges. Under the
  Opportunities: Exporters plans to increase             Plan Puebla Panama initiative, Central American
production and improve quality, particularly non-        countries have agreed to develop a ―Mesoamerican
traditional agricultural products such as melons,        Information Society‖ and strengthen IT cooperation
watermelons, mangoes, winter vegetables, fruits and      efforts to establish Internet ―telecenters‖ throughout
flowers. Companies are strengthening the offer of        rural areas.
processed products: tortillas; processed wheat, soy
or oats; dehydrated fruits and vegetables; Individual
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                      18


  The clone equipment market assembled with            hydroelectric project). Cost: US$250 million. Rural
Asian, US, European and Latin American parts is        electrification is another key component. Under
well established.    Imported clone components         ENEE’s Strategic Plan for National Electrification,
include motherboards, keyboards, mouses and            coverage is expected to increase from 62% to 75%
cases. Asian parts and components generally            by the year 2008.
comprise 60% to 75% of the finished product. 25-
40% of US parts are used for computer clone              Imports of electric power systems, equipment
manufacturing: hard drives (Seagate) and               and materials for the region are being determined by
microprocessors (Intel and AMD).                       the Central American Electric Interconnection
                                                       System (SIEPAC). The US$320 million project has
  Resources:                                           received approval (about US$240 million) from the
  IT Governmental Committee http://www.it.gob.hn       Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). This is
  Government Procurement                               part of the Plan Puebla Panamá (PPP), which
http://www.honducompras.gob.hn                         requires construction of 230 kilovolt power lines
  Honduran Science and Technology Council              and substations to create a 1,800 km new backbone
http://www.cohcit.gob.hn                               extending from Panama to Guatemala (passing
                                                       through the southern part of Honduras);
   Electrical Power Systems and components
                                                         Another      important     initiative   is  the
  Market Size: US$190 million, all imported,           Mesoamerican Energy Integration Plan (PIEM), led
including US$125 million from the US (2006).           by Mexico. Some proposals include construction of
Energy demand is growing by 7.3% a year. The           a refinery and a natural gas pipeline. Both IADB
National Electrical Energy Co. (ENNE) forecasts        and CABEI are providing financing support.
needs of 856.5 MW generating capacity for the
2006-2008. Current installed capacity is 1,375.5         Resources: Ministry of Natural Resources &
MW (474.9 hydro; 871.8 thermoelectric; 28.8            the Environment http://www.serna.gob.hn
biomass). About 36% of fuel imports are used for         National Electric Co. http://www.enee.gob.hn
thermoelectric generation. Expansion of renewable        National Energy Commission
energy technologies is a priority. Electric power      http://www.cne.gob.hn
coverage is 62%; about 2.5 million citizens (mainly      Plan Puebla Panama Initiative
in rural areas) lack access to electricity. ENEE is    http://www.sre.gob.mex
expanding efforts to extend its grid to rural areas,
and expand distribution in high growth areas.                     Hotel and Restaurant Equipment

  Best Products/Services:       Electrical Power         The hotel industry is rapidly expanding. Many
Generators; Parts of panels, boards, consoles and      new projects include bungalow-type resorts, apart-
transformers; Hydroelectric Turbines; Circuit          hotels, cabins, hostels and inns. Convention traffic
Breakers; Switch Gear; Conducting Cable; Parts of      is also increasing. The restaurant industry is
Steam and other Turbines.                              growing at an even faster rate. First-class
                                                       restaurants, fast-food chains and franchises are
  Opportunities: Most promising projects are in        opening ice cream parlors, Internet cafes.
hydro, biomass, co-generation, wind, and
geothermal sources. Renewable energy generation          Best Products/Services: Hotel & Institutional
is expected to increase by 27% (about 350.4 MW of      Catering      Equipment;      Commercial    Kitchen
installed capacity). The potential for hydro           Equipment; Fast Food Equipment; Food Preparation
generation is significant (around 3,200 MW).           Equipment; Restaurant Equipment; Vending
Financing support is led by the Central American       Machines; Commercial Laundry Equipment; Resort
Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). Among           Furnishing/Equipment; Refrigeration/ Freezing
the 2006 international public bidding projects         Equipment; Cooking appliances: ovens, ranges,
CABEI will support are Patuca II and Patuca III        broilers, grills, fryers, baking and pasta machines;
(aka known as the ―Piedras Amarillas‖                  Refrigeration compressors and air conditioning;
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                        19


Dishwashers and laundry machines; Catering              their plants running. However, milled rice is also
equipment and vending machines; Kitchen sundries,       imported.
glassware, china, tableware and flatware; Franchise
opportunities for restaurants and hotels.                 Opportunities: Import demand is expected to
                                                        remain strong. Honduras is ranked 11th among the
  Opportunities: Many hotels and restaurants are        leading 35 country
US franchises; these seek high quality supplies and     markets for US rice imports. Once CAFTA-DR
equipment.                                              goes into effect rice tariff will be eliminated in 18
                                                        years. Tariff cuts will be backloaded, with out-of-
  The Tela Bay project covers 107 hectares of           quota imports subject to a safeguard. There will be a
Caribbean coastline, including 3 kms of beach. It is    base quota of 90,000 MT for rough rice, growing by
owned by the Honduran Institute of Tourism. The         2% per year. A base quota of 8,500 MT will be for
project has a capacity of 1,013 hotel rooms, 454        milled rice, growing by 5% per year.
condo/rentals, 124 residential units and 3,068
square meters of commercial space. Areas have also         Wheat: Market Size, US$30 million, all
been set aside for recreational activities,             imported from the US (2005). Honduras’s land and
administration and public services. Future plans call   climate are unsuitable for commercial wheat
for a marina in the village of Miami, a golf course     farming.
in Tela city, 8 kms from the project site.
                                                          Best Prospects/Services: Industry needs of wheat
 Resources: Honduran Institute of Tourism               average per year 202,000 MT.
www.letsgohonduras.com
                                                          Opportunities: The US should remain Honduras’
               Agricultural Sectors                     main source of wheat. Honduras ranks 33th among
                                                        the leading 35 country markets for US wheat
  Coarse Grains: Market size: US$106 million.           imports.
Local production US$77 million. Imports: US$39.9
million (2006). White corn, the grain produced on         Soybean meal: Market size, US$31.3 million, all
the largest scale, is   utilized mainly for human       from the US (2005). Domestic production is
consumption. Production does not satisfy demand.        negligible.
Lack of affordable credit, poor seed quality, several
consecutive years of weather anomalies, have              Best Prospects/Services: The growing poultry
prevented Honduras from becoming self sufficient.       and shrimp sectors have triggered increasing
                                                        demand for soybean meal.
  Best Products/Services: About 65% of yellow
corn is imported. Imports of from the US are in           Opportunities: Continued expansion in the feed
demand to manufacture feed for the poultry, shrimp,     industry, particularly for poultry production, should
livestock and swine industries.                         continue to fuel the demand for US soybean meal.
  Opportunities:       The     poultry,   livestock,    US tariffs on Honduras imports are zero. Honduras
aquaculture and swine sector will continue to grow.     ranks 12th among the leading 35 country markets
Honduras ranks 25th among country markets for US        for US soybean meal exports.
coarse grains imports.
                                                          Red Meats: Local production US$4.6 million.
  Rice: Market Size, US$38.6 million. Local             Total imports: US$14 million. Imports from US are
production, US$5.7 million. Imports from US,            US$13.0 million (2005). Honduras was a beef
US$30.8 million (2005).        Chronic production       exporter to the US, but due to a drop in prices
problems have not allowed domestic rice farmers to      production declined in 2002 and 2003.
increase output and keep up with the demand.
                                                          Best Products/Services: CAFTA-DR will bring
  Best Prospects/Services: Local rice millers prefer    immediate tariff elimination on prime and choice
to import paddy rice for price reasons and to keep      pork and beef cuts. Current demand on beef cuts,
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       20


prime pork, beef variety meats, liver, tongue,         advantage of the Agrarian Reform Law, engage in
bellies, trimmings and pork foot.                      commercial fishing, forestry, or local transportation
                                                       activities, serve as representatives, agents, or
  Opportunities: From 1999 to 2003 total visitors      distributors for foreign companies, or operate radio
grew by 107%; food and drink establishments            and television stations must be majority-owned by
increased by 86%; hotels increased by 52%. Hotels      Hondurans.
and fine restaurants need a consistent supply of
quality meat products such as US beef and pork.          The 1992 Investment Law does not limit foreign
There is competition from Canada and Nicaragua.        ownership of businesses, except for those
                                                       specifically reserved for Honduran investors, i.e.,
  Processed Fruits and Vegetables: Market size:        small firms with capital less than 150,000 Lempiras
US$38 million. Imports: US$22 million. Imports         (approx. US$8,000). At least 90% of the labor force
from US: US$8.4 million (2006). Processed fruits       must be Honduran, and at least 85% of the payroll
and vegetables growth has increased every year.        must be paid to Hondurans.
Canned goods with familiar US brands are well
known.                                                    Management of the 4 international airports
                                                       was turned over to a consortium with majority US
  Best Products/Services: Popular products that        investment in Oct. 2000, the only major
under CAFTA-DR will bring immediate tariff             privatization effort in recent years. A dispute over
elimination are: canned sweet corn, tomato paste,      financing soon developed, and the agreement was
canned pears, canned peaches and mixed canned          re-negotiated in 2003. There continues to be
fruit.                                                 controversy over the terms, and US investors
                                                       divested from in 2005.
  Opportunities: US franchises and restaurants
import French fries from Canada. The U.S. could          Government opened the telecom market for
introduce its products after CAFTA-DR with             joint ventures with Hondutel, the state-owned
immediate tariff elimination. The import duty will     telephone monopoly, in Sept. 2003. Foreign and
lower from 15% to 0%.                                  domestic carriers can register as sub-contractors for
                                                       fixed telephony services. Full privatization took
               Investment Climate                      place on Dec. 25. The process through which
                                                       foreign companies can obtain licenses to provide
  The government is generally open to foreign          long distance and international dialing has not yet
investment.          Restrictions and performance      been established. All sub-operators must obtain
requirements are fairly limited. Foreign companies     approval from Congress. Cellular telephony
tend to encounter problems investing in                services are open to full private ownership.
infrastructure and a few visible large projects such
as the airport, telecom, housing and energy sectors,     The National Electric Co. (ENEE) has turned
as domestic companies seek ways to keep the            over most of its thermal energy generation to the
competition out.                                       private sector but retains responsibility for
                                                       electricity transmission and distribution, and almost
  Relatively low labor costs, proximity to the US      all hydroelectric energy generation and distribution
market, and Central America’s best Caribbean port      throughout. The GOH is working on a project to
(Puerto Cortés) have made Honduras attractive to       break up ENEE distribution and is working towards
investors. The climate is hampered by high levels of   privatization, though there is no firm timeline set.
crime, a weak judicial system, corruption, low
educational levels among the population, a troubled                    Dispute Settlement
financial sector, and limited infrastructure.
                                                         The government has a poor record of handling
  The Constitution requires that all foreign           investment disputes, due to the outdated
investment complement, but not substitute for,         commercial code and the weak judicial system.
national investment. Companies that wish to take       Most investment and property disputes are long
                         Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          21


lasting and arduous. US claimants frequently                 Labor laws are generally good. The maquila
complain about the lack of transparency and the            sector has made great strides in eliminating the
slow administration of justice in the courts. There        worst forms of labor violations. Union officials
are also complaints that the judicial system caters to     remain critical of what they perceive as inadequate
favoritism, and bribes. While some US firms have           enforcement by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) of
resolved their cases through the courts, the majority      workers' rights, particularly the right to form a
have difficulty navigating the legal system. Many          union and bargain collectively, and the
US citizens have also complained about the quality         reinstatement of workers unjustly fired for union
of legal representation they receive from Honduran         organizing activities. Through cooperation within
attorneys.                                                 the bipartite and tripartite commissions (unions,
                                                           MOL, private sector) and other venues, MOL
                  Political Violence                       inspectors' access to maquila plants to enforce the
                                                           labor code has improved, and MOL has continued
  Honduras has not experienced major problems              to work to increase its effectiveness in enforcing
with political violence. Sporadic demonstrations are       worker rights and child labor laws.
usually peaceful. Most major demonstrations occur
in downtown Tegucigalpa. However, levels of                           Foreign-Trade Zones/Free Ports
crime and violence are high. In a 2002 World Bank
survey of both Honduran and foreign firms                    The Temporary Import Law (RIT) allows
operating here, one in three reported having               exporters to introduce raw materials, parts and
suffered a criminal attack in the previous year.           capital equipment (except vehicles) exempt from
These led to a loss of 0.9% of annual sales, and           surcharges and customs duties if the input is to be
expenses devoted to security measures (hiring              incorporated into a product for export (up to 5% can
security guards, installing alarms, etc.) represented      be sold locally). Export processing zones can be
another 3.6% of annual sales. Total losses (4.5% of        established anywhere, and companies operating in
sales) were second in the region only to Guatemala.        export processing zones are exempt from paying
                                                           import duties and other charges on goods and
                     Corruption                            capital equipment. The production and sale of goods
                                                           within export zones are exempt from state and
   In a 2002 World Bank survey of both Honduran            municipal income taxes for the first 10 years of
and foreign firms operating here, corruption was           operation. Companies operating in an export zone
identified as the single largest constraint to             are permitted unrestricted repatriation of profits and
economic growth. In its 2004 perception                    capital and have access to onsite customs facilities.
survey of business persons, Transparency                   However, companies are required to purchase the
International named Honduras as one of the five            Lempiras needed for their local operations from
most corrupt countries in the Western Hemisphere.          Honduran commercial banks or from foreign
Corruption appears to be most pervasive in                 exchange trading houses registered with the Central
government procurement, government permits, and            Bank.
in the buying and selling of real estate (land titling).
The government is seeking to reform the judicial              Foreign Direct Investment Statistics (FDI)
system, though serious problems remain.
                                                             FDI has registered sustained growth since 2002,
                        Labor                              reflecting increased governmental efforts for
                                                           attracting investors’ confidence. FDI flows in 2004
  Honduras has plentiful available labor for               totaled US$324.6 million (up 31.3% from 2003), an
industries with a demand for relatively low skilled        historical high, according to the Central Bank. (The
workers. There is a limited supply of skilled              US continues to be a dominant source with 60.1%
workers in all technological fields, as well as in         of all FDI in 2003). Other countries with high
medical and high technology industries.                    levels      of     investment      include:     U.K.
                                                           (telecommunications); Canada (mining); Mexico
                                                           (ICT, telecom, consumer trade); Central America
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                           22


(mainly Panama & El Salvador, in the financial             Country Trade Associations /Chambers of
services sector and development of commercial                            Commerce
projects); Switzerland (food, beverage, construction
industry); and Germany (agro-industry).                   This is a partial list. The complete list is available
                                                        in    the      full       report,  available       from
  FDI by country of origin in 2004 (in millions of      kalwagenheim@cs.com.
US$) was: US, 68.6; Canada, 40.8; Mexico, 35.9; El
Salvador, 17.7; Guatemala, 9.0; Nicaragua, 5.7;           Honduran American Chamber of Commerce
Costa Rica, 6.6; Panama, 21.7; Bahamas, 4.8;            (AMCHAM).
Spain, 0.1; England, 61.0; Holland, 3.6; Germany,       Roberto Alvarez, Pres. Lic. Patricia Lopez, Exec.
14.4; Switzerland, 23.7; Italy, 6.0; France, 0.0;       Dir. P.O. Box # 1838. Tegucigalpa M.D.C. Tel:
Japan, 0.1; Others, 4.9; Total, 324.6. Source:          (504) 235-9959, 231-1379, 232-6035. Fax: (504)
Central Bank of Honduras.                               232-2031.                                   E-mail:
                                                        amchamtegucigalpa@hotmail.com
  FDI by Economic Activity (in millions of US$            Foundation for Investment and Development of
and percentages for 2004): Agriculture; Fishing,        Exports (FIDE). Lic. Vilma Sierra Exec. Pres.
11.1, 3.4%; Mining, 40.9, 12.6%; Manufacturing,         Antonio Young, VP.
106.7, 32.9%; Electricity, gas,water, 7.2, 2.2%;        P.O. Box # 2029. Tegucigalpa M.D.C. Tel: (504)
Construction, 0.8, 0.2%; Consumer Trade,                235-3471, 235-3472. Fax: (504) 235-7484. E-mail:
Hotels/Restaurants, 23.3, 7.2%; Transportation,         fide@hondutel.hn
Storage, Communications, 81.1, 25.0%; Financial,        Http://www.hondurasinfo.hn
Insurance, Services, 53.4, 16.5%. Total, 324.6.           Federation of Agricultural Producers and
100.0%. Source: Central Bank of Honduras                Exporters (FPX).
  FDI Maquiladora Industry by Sector, 2004 (in          Medardo Galindo, Gen. Mgr., P.O. Box # 236. San
millions of US$ and percentages): Textile Industry,     Pedro Sula, Cortés. Tel: (504) 566-0139, 566-3794,
57.5, 41.0; Electric components and car parts, 28.7,    566-2368, Fax: (504) 566-3852. E-mail:
20.5; Tobacco, 22.4, 16.0; Service to corporations,     fpx.honduras@spxhn.com
20.7, 14.7; Agriculture, hunting and fishing, 7.7,        Honduran Council for Private Enterprise
5.5; Cardboard Products, 3.8, 2.7; Watch assembly       (COHEP). Ing. Mario Cnahuati, Pres. Benjamin
& electronic products, 2.2, 1.6; Furniture production   Bogran, Exec. Dir. P.O. Box 3240. Tegucigalpa
& wood products, 0.5, 0.3; Chemical products, 0.0,      M.D.C. Tel: (504) 235-3336. Fax: (504) 235-
0.0; Trade, -3.3, -2.3. Total: US$140 million, 100%.    3345/44. E-mail: cohep@consejo.com
Source: quarterly surveys applied to industrial park      National     Honduran     Assn    of    Exporters
companies.                                              (ANEXHON). Lic. Roberto Panayotti, Pres. Local
                                                        de la C.C.I.C. San Pedro Sula, Cortes. Tel: (504)
          Selected Foreign Investments                  553-3626. Fax: (504) 553-3777. Construction
                                                        Industry Association (CHICO)
  A list of dozens of foreign firms and franchises        International    Chamber       of     Commerce
operating here, with a description of the type of       (INTERCHAM). Hector Diaz, Pres. Ave
investment and country of origin is available in the    Circunvalación, 17 Ave., 9-10 Calle, S.O. Edificio
complete version of this report, which you can          CCIC. P.O. Box # 4548. San Pedro Sula, Cortés
request by Emailing kalwagenheim@us.com.                Tel: (504) 557-4994. Fax: (504) 557-4994. E-mail:
                                                        intcham@simon.intertel.hn
   US Banks and Local Correspondent Banks                 National Industry Association (ANDI). Ing.
                                                        Adolfo Facussé, Pres. Guermo Matamoros, Exec.
   A list of these banks, with addresses and contact    Dir. Tel: (504) 232-2221, 239-1239. Fax: (504)
information can be obtained in the complete report,     221-5199. P.O. Box # 3447. Tegucigalpa M.D.C. E-
which      you      can    request    via     Email:    mail: andi@andi.hn
kalwagenheim@cs.com.                                      Honduran Apparel Manufacturers Assoc. Jesus
                                                        Canahuati, Pres. Henry Fransen, Exec. Dir. P.O.
                                                        Box # 2658. San Pedro Sula, Cortés. Tel: (504) 556-
                      Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                   23


5526. Fax: (504) 556-5525. E-mail: director@ahm-
honduras.com; www.ahm-honduras.com                     Embassy of Honduras. Amb. Norman Garcia.
  Honduran Assn of Banking Institutions (AHIBA).     3007 Tilden Street, NW. Washington, DC 20008.
Roque Rivera, Pres. P.O. Box #1344. Tegucigalpa,     Tel: (202) 966-7702. Fax: (202) 966-9751. Email:
M.D.C. Tel: (504) 235-6770. Fax: (504) 239-0191.     embassy@hondurasemb.org
E-mail: ahiba@ahiba.hn                                 Honduras Institute of Tourism. 299 Alhambra
  Honduran Mining Assn (ANAMINH). Miriam             Circle Suite 226. Coral Gables, FL 33134. P.O.Box
Bueso, Pres.                                         140458. Coral Gables, FL 33114-0458. Toll Free:1-
Edif. Plaza Millennium 2ndo Nivel Cubi B Guel 3,     800-410-9608. Tel (305) 461-0600. Fax (305) 461-
Comaguela, Honduras. Tel: (504) 225-3733. Fax:       0602. Email: hondurastourism@aol.com
(504) 225-3733. Email: anaminh@yahoo.com
  Honduran Chamber of Tourism (CAMTURH).                               Trade Events
Raul Welches, Pres. Lourds Benedett, Dir. Col Los
Girasoles, Hotel Escuela Madrid 4to Piso. P.O. Box    Check the links below for upcoming trade events.
# 5804. Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. Tel: (504) 236-8836.     www. export.gov/tradeevents.html,
Fax: (504) 236-9702. E-mail: canaturh@123.hn         www.buyusa.gov/honduras

        Country Market Research Firms                                       ***
                                                       COMPUTER,               COMMUNICATIONS
  KMPG Peat, Marwick y Asociados. Armando            EQUIPMENT. A loan from the World Bank’s
Barnica, Gen Mgr. P.O. Box # 3398. Tegucigalpa       International Development Assn (IDA) is for
M.D.C. Tel: (504) 232-5907; Fax: (504) 232-5925.     Technical Assistance to Support Poverty Reduction
E-mail: kpmgtgu@ david.intertel.hn                   (No. 3939-HO; Project: P083851). Part of the funds
  Morales Group. Roberto Morales. Exec. P.O. Box     will be used to procure computer and
2232 San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras. Tel: (504)    communications equipment for the Civil Service
553-1176; Fax: (504) 557-6722; 553-3723.             Office. Deadline: March 12, 2007. Refer to: SEFIN
  Mercaplan. Jorge Martin Frech, Gen. Mgr. Col.      005-2006. Details: Ivonne Ramírez Coordinadora
Moderna 20 y 21 Ave Blvd Los Proceres. San Pedro     de la Unidad Administradora de Proyectos
Sula, Cortés. Tel: (504) 550-1992, 550-1092 Fax:     (UAP)/Secretaría de Estado en el Despacho de
(504) 550-1996. http:// www.mercaplan.hn. E-mail:    Finanzas. Av. Cervantes, Edif. Principal de la
jorge@mercaplan.hn                                   Secretaría de Finanzas. 7mo. Piso. Tegucigalpa,
  C.I.D.    Consultoría    Interdisciplinaria  en    M.D.C. Honduras. Tel: (504) 222-6120. Email:
Desarrollo, S.A. (Gallup de Centroamérica).          iramirez@sefin.gob.hn. Web: www.sefin.gob.hn
Xiomara Muñoz Deras, Gen. Mgr., P.O. Box #
3390. Tegucigalpa M.D.C. Tel: (504) 232-0637,          INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR HONDUTEL.
239-0993; Fax: (504) 239-0899. E-mail: cidhon@       Funds from the UN Development Program will help
cidgallup.com                                        pay for developing an Insurance Program for the
  Martinez Calvo. Ricardo Martinez, Gen. Mgr.        government’s Hondutel Telecom Co. in 2007-2008.
Hotel Clarion, Edificio Corporativo. Tegucigalpa     Deadline: March 7, 2007. Refer to: Proceso No.
M.D.C. Tel: (504) 232-3951, Fax: (504) 232-5005.     IAL/00031327/00357-2007. Details: Programa de
E-mail: martinezcalvo@ hondutel.hn                   las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Atn:
                                                     Unidad de Adquisiciones. Casa de las Naciones
     U.S. Embassy Economic Personnel                 Unidas, Primer Nivel. Col. Palmira, Av. República
Washington - Based U.S. Government, Country          de Panamá. Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Tel: (504)
                 Contacts                            231-0102, 220-1100. Fax: (504) 232-3268. E- mail:
          U.S. Department of State                   licitaciones. palmira.hn@undp.org. Web site:
                                                     www.undp.un.hn
  Request complete report with these details from
kalwagenheim@cs.com.                                   DESIGN, EXECUTION OF R&D. Funds from
                                                     the World Bank are for Trade Facilitation &
            Other U.S.-Based Offices                 Productivity Improvement (3826-HO; Proyecto
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       24


P070038). Part of funds will be used for design,           EFFECTIVE RECORDS MANAGEMENT.
research and development. Deadline to prequalify:        Consultants are invited to submit proposals by April
March 8, 2007. Refer to: No. PFCIP-FIDE-SBCC-            11 to provide technical assistance to develop &
724/06. Details: Proyecto Facilitación Comercio e        implement an Effective Records Management
Incremento de la Productividad. Expresiones de           Program (RFP No. 2006/004). Details: Public
Interés Consultoría “Diseño e Implementación de          Sector Reform Unit. Cabinet Office. 2a Devon Rd.,
Campaña de Comunicación para Posicionar a                Rm 219. Kingston 10 Jamaica. Fax: (876) 960-
Honduras como Destino de Inversiones entre               6443. E-mail: psru.proc@ abinet.gov.jm. Web:
Potenciales Inversionistas Internacionales”. Atn:        www.cabinet.gov.jm/psru
Oficial     de      Adquisiciones    de     Firmas
Consultoras/Proyecto Banco Mundial. Edif. FIDE,            SOCIAL SAFETY NET. A World Bank loan
Inversiones y Exportaciones, 2ndo Piso. Col. La          will help finance reform of Jamaica's Social Safety
Estancia, final del Blvd. Morazán. Esq. opuesta del      Net (SSN) (Loan 7076-JM; Project ID No.
Centro Comercial Plaza Marte. Tegucigalpa,               P067774). Some funds will pay for consultants to
M.D.C., Honduras. Tel: (504) 221-6303 al 10.             recertify households enrolled under PATH up to
Email: kbarahona@fidehonduras.com. Web: www.             Dec. 31,2002 who have since been receiving
hondurascompite.com                                      benefits. Deadline to prequalify: March 9, 2007.
                                                         Refer to:Contract No. SSN-CON.-QCBS-2007/04.
                    JAMAICA                              Details: Ministry of Labour & Social Security,
                                                         Social Safety Net Project. P.A.T.H.. Attn:
  OIL DOLLARS TO HELP SUGAR. The                         Procurement Officer 14 National Heroes Circle.
government is using US$44 million earned from its        Kingston 4, Jamaica W.I. Tel: (876) 967-0420.
oil deal with Venezuela to help its struggling state-    Fax:         (876)        967-7250.        E-mail:
owned sugar company, said Agriculture Minister           jfrichards@mlss.gov.jm,
Roger Clarke, reports AP (Feb. 8, 2007).             A   josephfrichards@gmail.com
portion of the money was also used to refurbish
factories for the 2007 sugar crop, he said. The            PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM. Bids are sought
company consists of six farms that produce 65% of        by March 20 for two projects: a Human Resource
sugar exports. It was put up for divestment two          Information System at its National Public Health
years ago after accumulating US$180.5 million in         Lab, Immunology Lab and Blood Bank (RFP
debt. Under the 2005 Petrocaribe deal, Jamaica pays      2007/002, 2007/003) and Assessment of Impact of
market price for Venezuelan fuel must hand over          Devolution of Health Service Delivery (RFP no.
only part of the cost and can finance the rest over 25   2007/004). Details: Public Sector Reform Unit. See
years at low interest. Five companies are in the         contact info at bottom of previous paragraph.
running to purchase the sugar company, including
local companies Wray and Nephew and Gibson                 MOBILE TV LAUNCHED. Dublin-based
Energy Ltd., Coimex from Brazil, Angostura from          Vimio, a provider of media distribution solutions
Trinidad and Dhampur from India.                         and content to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs),
                                                         on Jan. 29 said that its Live TV solution has been
 INTERNET SPECIALIST. Jamaica secured a                  incorporated in a new Mobile TV service, launched
loan from the Inter-American Development Bank            here by Digicel Group. Details: Padraic Marren,
for the Primary Education Support Project (PESP)         VP Bus. Dev. Tel: +353-1-865-2400 / +353-87-
#1264/OC-JA. Part of the proceeds will pay for an        6980943. Pelham Public Rel. Tel: +44-(0)20-7743-
intranet specialist to provide web-based portal and      6670. Archie Berens, John East & Partners Ltd.
content management systems. Deadline: March 7,           Tel: +44-(0)20-7628-2200.
2007. Details: The Project Manager, PESP.
Ministry of Education & Youth. Bldg 1, 5th Fl, Rm          Roofing material is sought by A. G. Lowe &
500. National Heroes Circle. Kingston 4. Tel: (876)      Associates Ltd., a Jamaican architectural firm that
502-5884/5888. Fax: (876) 967-4066. E-mail:              has been involved in several developments here
pcu@cwjamaica.com                                        (hotels, residential developments and industrial
                                                         complexes). The firm is now part of a partnership
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         25


that will build 1,000 3-bedroom housing units in          U.S. backed insurgency. He now says he seeks good
Richmond, St. Ann, on the north coast. Preference         relations with Washington.
will be given to "Maxi-Shakes" material (synthetic,
oil with fiber); Aluminum shakes. Will purchase in           MILLENIUM CHALLENGE.                 The US
future (6 months or more). Details: Arthur G. Lowe.       Government’s Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC)
Tel: (876) 924-5800. Fax: (876) 969-3217. Email:          approved a US$175 million, five-year compact with
aglowearchitect@yahoo.com                                 Nicaragua to promote economic development in
                                                          Chinandega and Leon departments, and fund: (i)
  Wholesale carpeting for motor vehicles is               Road Rehabilitation; (ii) Property Regularization;
sought by a company here. Quantity: half a 20 ft.         iii) Value-added rural business development. (Bid
container. Details: Power Steering Speciality Ltd.        No: MCA-N # QCBS – 2007 – 01). Consultants are
Cecil Beharry, Manager. Phone: (876) 906-1637,            invited to apply for ―Data Quality Reviewer of the
1640.      Fax:     (876)    926-9906.     Email:         MCA – Nicaragua Program‖. Deadline: March 23,
info@swissmachinery.com                                   2007. Details: Mr. John Bowlin. Fundación Reto
                                                          del Milenio (MCA-Nicaragua). Procurement Agent
          NETHERLANDS ANTILLES                            Mgr. Villa Fontana No. 26, Annex A, frente al
                                                          costado norte del Club Terraza. Managua,
  NEW WESTIN ST. MAARTEN RESORT. The                      Nicaragua. Tel/Fax: (505) 255-0501/0508/0520,
Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa,               277-0043, 277-1272, (1-202) 470-1390. E-mail:
opened Jan. 22, includes 317 rooms, 99 condos and         jbowlin @ louisberger.com Web: www.mcc.gov and
6 suites, a spa, fitness room, casino, 20,000 sq ft of    www. cuentadelmilenio.org.ni.
function space, shops, restaurants, water sports. It is
built on the former site of the Dawn Beach Hotel,           EFFORT TO RESOLVE OIL LEGAL
leveled by Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn in 1995.           DISPUTE. Government said it will try to negotiate
Westin is owned, managed and operated by US               a resolution to a legal dispute over oil exploration
entrepreneur William Yung. Rooms range from               concessions granted to two U.S. companies, reports
US$403 (euro311) to US$586 (euro452) per night,           AP (Jan. 24, 2007). Foreign Minister Samuel Santos
said Gen. Mgr. Carlos Sanchez. Details: Tel: 011-         said he met with members of the remote
(599)-543-6700. Web: www.westin.com\ stmaarten.           autonomous region who have taken legal action
Kathrina Calbes. Email: kcalbes@ BlazePR.com.             against the concessions. They argue the government
Karen      Gee-McAuley.      Email:     kgee.mcauley      of former President Enrique Bolanos, who left
@blazepr.com. Tel: (310) 395-5050.                        office on Jan. 10, did not take into account the
                                                          impact the exploration would have on fishing and
 SPIRIT FLIES TO ST. MAARTEN. Spirit                      tourism. Last year, Bolanos granted a 1.4 million-
Airlines on Jan. 17 announced non-stop Fri., Sat.,        acre concession to Denver-based Infinity Energy
Sun. service between its Ft Lauderdale hub and St.        Resources, Inc., and a 988,000-acre concession to
Maarten, beginning April 20. , 2007. Details:             MKJ Xploration, based in Metairie, Louisiana.
Rebecca     Rivera,   954-628-4827.        Email:         Infinity says it will begin this year ―analyzing
Rebecca.rivera@spiritair.com                              existing seismic data for the concessions and plans
                                                          future exploration and development.‖ Santos said he
                   NICARAGUA                              wants to ―look for appropriate mechanisms to
                                                          diffuse the problem in the best interests of everyone
  PRESIDENT ORTEGA SLASHES SALARY.                        involved.‖
New President Daniel Ortega, said he is slashing his
salary to US$3,200 and those of Cabinet members            FAMILY MINISTRY STRENGTHENING.
to US$3,000, reports AP (Jan. 22, 2006). Former           Nicaragua has received US$3 million from the
President Enrique Bolanos earned about                    Inter-American Development Bank for a Project to
US$10,000; some Cabinet members earned more               Strengthen the Family Ministry (N° 1576 SF/NI).
than US$5,000. Ortega headed a Soviet allied              Funds will be used for general procurement,
government in the 1980s that fought a war against a       including hiring consultants. No deadline specified.
                                                          Details: Ministerio de la Familia, Dirección de
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                      26


Fortalecimiento Institucional. Atn: Lic. Marcia        prison as soon as he arrived. Noriega has received
Ramírez. De donde fue Unión FENOSA Central 100         two 20-year sentences in Panama for the 1985
m al Sur. Managua, Nicaragua. Tel: (505) 277-          decapitation of dissident leader Hugo Spadafora and
4294. Fax: (505) 278-1836. E-mail: mramirez@           the 1989 slaying of Maj. Moises Giroldi, who tried
mifamilia.gob.ni                                       to overthrow him.
                                                        CEMEX TO EXPAND BAYANO PLANT.
  HYDRO        GENERATION          EQUIPMENT.          Mexico’s Cemex S.A. said Jan. 26 it will invest
Nicaragua has received funding from the United         US$200 million to build a new kiln at its Bayano
Nations System for Small-Scale Hydroelectric           Plant in Panama, with completion expected in 2009.
Development in Areas Outside the Network               Current production, 450,000 tons of clinker per
(FONDOS DE CONTRIBUCION COSUDE-GTZ-                    year, will increase to 1.6 million tons, said Juan
PNUD-GEF/NIC10-000-14045). Part of the funds           Romero, President of Cemex’s South America &
will be to supply and install generating equipment     Caribbean Region. Details: Media: Jorge Perez,
for the small El Naranjo Hydro Project. Deadline:      (52-81) 8888-4334. Investor Relations. Eduardo
March 14, 2007. Refer to: LPINIC10-14045-001-          Rendon,           (52-81)8888-4256.         Analyst
2007. Details: Ing. Emilio Rappaccioli Baltodano.      Relations.Ricardo Sales, 212-317-6008
Presidente CNE. Comisión Nacional de Energía
(CNE). Del Hospital Bautista 1 cuadra abajo, 120         HOLIDAY INN PANAMA CANAL. IHG
varas al Lago Managua, Nicaragua. No other             InterContinental     Hotels Group) on Feb. 1
contact info, such as phone, fax or Email, was         announced groundbreaking of the 115-room
provided, which raises doubts upon the                 Holiday Inn Panama Canal, in the City of
transparency of this project.                          Knowledge complex for education and research. It
                                                       will be the fourth IHG hotel in Panama through its
  Used school buses from a US supplier are sought.     affiliation with Panama City-based Bern Hotels &
Preferred Brands: International, GMC, Ford,            Resorts, the tourism division of Empresas Bern.
Chevrolet. Body: Blue Bird, Thomas, Ward,              Details: Miami Kreps. DeMaria Veronica Villegas,
Carpenter. Year: 1997-1998. Quantity: US$50,000        305-663-3543. Email: vvillegas@ krepspr.com or
initially. Details: Jorge Montoya. Finance             Cristina Planas, 305-663-3543. Email: cplanas
Manager, Phone: 505-265-2189. Fax: 505-265-            @krepspr.com. Web: www.ihgplc.com/media
2189. Email: elrosario2@yahoo.es
                                                         NEW GOVT. PROCUREMENT LAW. A law
                    PANAMA                             entered into effect on Dec. 28, 2006 which regulates
                                                       government procurement is intended to streamline
  NORIEGA PRISON RELEASE SET FOR                       and modernize Panama’s contracting system. An
SEPT. 9. Former dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega        internet-based procurement system: Panamacompra
hopes to board a plane for Panama when he is           portal (www. panamacompra.gob.pa) requires all
released from prison on Sept. 9, and plans to fight    purchases to be announced in this system, thus
his conviction in the slayings of two political        allowing for more transparency and speed in
opponents, said his attorney Frank Rubino, reports     government purchases. The law also regulates use
AP (Jan. 24, 2007). Noriega's eight-year rule ended    of performance bonds, creates an office to monitor
after the US invaded the county on Dec. 20, 1989,      public tenders (National Directorate for Public
to force him from power. He is being held in the       Tenders), and provides for more expedited
Federal Correctional Institution in Miami on drug      information access. Source: US Dept. of Commerce.
trafficking and money laundering charges. Noriega
was sentenced to a 30-year term for protecting           DRINKING WATER PROGRAM. A loan from
Colombian cocaine shipments through Panama in          the Inter-American Development Bank is for
the 1980s but received deductions in his punishment    Sustainable Development Program in Darien. (Nº
for good behavior. Noriega, 70, had unsuccessful       1160/OC-PN) Part of the funds will be for a
parole hearings in 2002 and 2004 to try to cut short   Drinking Water Systems for Communities Along
his 30-year sentence. Panama's justice minister,       the Pan-American Highway in Darien (Arimae-
Olga Golcher, said Noriega would be taken to           Yaviza). Deadline: March 12, 2007. Refer to: N°
                      Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                      27


PD-370-SB-06. Details: Ministerio de la                 SHRINKING AUTO SALES. New vehicle sales
Presidencia. Consejo Nacional para el Desarrollo      in Puerto Rico last year totaled 117,838 units, down
Sostenible. Atn: Ing. Orlando sorio. Edif 764,        16.1% from 2005, when 140,400 vehicles were
Balboa, Ciudad de Panamá. Tel/Fax: (507) 314–         sold, according to Plaza Motors Corp., reports
0922/1030. E-mail: oosorio@mef.gob.pa. Atn: Lic.      Caribbean Business (Jan. 26, 2007). The local auto
Euldarin Asprilla. Tel: (507) 314–1036/0288. Tel:     industry generates US$3.5 billion a year in sales of
(507)       299-6796        (Darién).    E-mail:      vehicles and spare parts and employs about 15,000
easprilla@mef.gob.pa                                  people, not counting used car dealerships. Banks
                                                      and other financial institutions manage an auto
  CANAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR. The Panama                 market portfolio of US$8.7 billion. The central
Canal Authority on Feb. 8 said it awarded the         government in 2005 raked in US$606 million in
financial advisor contract for the Panama Canal       taxes on car sales. Plaza Motors President & CEO
expansion to Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd.,which        Hiroshi Nakagawa said that ―in terms of raw sales
won out over 14 firms from the US, Japan, France,     numbers, 2007 may be even more difficult than the
England and Spain. Details: www.pancanal.com.         previous year.‖

  STRENGTHENING              OF       MARITIME          HOTEL REDEVELOPMENT. The
AUTHORITY. Panama has received US$5 million           transformation of Condado’s       Ashford     Ave.
from the Inter-American Dev. Bank to Strengthen       continues as Grupo Cacho takes the lead with two
Capacity of the Maritime Authority for Coastal        projects valued at US$150 million, reports
Management (No. 1724/OC-PN, Proyecto PN-              Caribbean Business (Jan. 19, 2007). The Laguna
0152). No deadline specified. Details: Autoridad de   del Mar Plaza and Regency Condado Center
los Recursos Acuáticos de Panamá. George F.           projects will add 1,500 parking spots, and 130
Novey. Diablo Height, Ancon, Edif 5534. 8062          apartments to the growing list of upscale condos
Panamá 7 Panamá. Tel/Fax: (507) 232-7510, 232-        due to soon flood Condado. Developer Roberto
6477. E-mail: drmarinos@amp.gob.pa                    Cacho, president & owner of the shuttered Regency
                                                      Hotel and the 4,600-square-meter parking lot where
   DIGITAL MAPPING. Panama received a loan            Laguna del Mar Plaza will be built, said he has
from the Inter-Amer. Dev. Bank for a Land Admin.      partnered with the Blackstone Group, the stateside
Prog. that involves aerial digital mapping (No.       private equity group, to redevelop the Regency as
1427/OC-PN). Consultants required. Deadline:          an all-suite boutique condo-hotel. In addition to
March 19, 2007. Details: Programa Nacional de         converting guest rooms into 75 condo suites, an
Admin. Tierras. Lic. Abraham Herrera. Edif 868        adjacent new structure will include 8 floors for
Albrook, Correg. de Ancón. Ciudad de Panamá.          parking and an 8-floor tower rising above it that
Tel: (507)315-1955. Fax: (507) 315-9660. E-mail:      will house 68 apartments.
aherrera@pronat.org.pa,
adquisicionesbid@pronat.org.pa                                                 ***
                                                          FORMER NPP OFFICIALS GET 5 YEARS.
                PUERTO RICO                           Two leading figures of the pro-statehood New
                                                      Progressive Party (NPP), Rene Vazquez-Botet and
  PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS UP 8% IN 2006. The               Marcos Morell-Corrada, were sentenced to 5 years
Dept of Labor & Human Resources Nov. 2006             in prison for involvement in a scheme to extort
Household Survey reveals public-sector jobs           contractors in connection with the Superaqueduct
increased 8% between Jan.-Nov. 2006, reports          project, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb. 1, 2007).
Caribbean Business (Jan. 23, 2007). Government        In 1995, they, together with Jose Granados-Navedo-
employment by Jan. 2006 reached 274,000, vs,          -a member of the House of Representatives—
296,000 for Nov. 2006. Total employment grew          demanded more than US$2 million from contractors
from 1.248 million to 1.270 million, while            who won contracts to build a U$$372 million
unemployment declined from 13% in Nov. 2005 to        project involving a 40-mile water pipe from
10% in Nov. 2006.                                     Arecibo to San Juan. Vazquez-Botet, a pediatric
                                                      ophthalmologist, was tapped in 1991 by the NPP to
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       28


be campaign director for a gubernatorial candidate       renovating El Cantón, the downtown sector of the
and was campaign manager for the candidate's re-         city, reports Caribbean Business (Jan. 19, 2007).
election in 1996. Morell-Corrada, an attorney, was       ―Investment in the project could surpass US$100
secretary general of the NPP. Granados-Navedo            million,‖ said Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera
resigned from office as the VP of the House in           Cruz.
1999, and pleaded guilty before the first indictments
were returned in 2004 and cooperated with the              COCO BEACH RESORT A DONE DEAL.
FBI's investigation and prosecution.                     The Fairmont Coco Beach Resort in Río Grande is a
                                                         done deal, said Arturo Díaz, president of Empresas
  ELECTRONIC COUPON DISPENSERS.                          Díaz & Coco Beach Development Group (CBDG),
Houston-based MBC Direct, creator-marketer of            reports Caribbean Business (Feb. 8, 2007).
loyalty and financial card programs for businesses,      California-based, merchant-banking firm Redwood
and Ponce-based Vassallo Industries, are expected        Capital Partners LLC, partnered with Empresas
to sign a memorandum of intention, in which the          Díaz, has signed a commitment letter with Canada’s
latter will manufacture from 300,000 to 500,000          Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of
electronic coupon dispensers, in a deal valued at        Canadian Pacific. Scotiabank will handle lead
between US$8-US$10 million, reports Caribbean            financing. The Coco Beach Golf Course has been
Business (Jan. 26, 2007). MBC Direct President           lengthened to 7,587 yards to comply with PGA
Alfredo Rodríguez said the dispensers will be            Tour standards. Díaz said the Fairmont project,
located on local supermarket store shelves, but          valued at about US$125 million, will include 250
eventually in stateside stores as well. MBC Direct       hotel rooms and 150 condo-hotel units.
has arranged with product manufacturers to provide
discounts on more than 4,500 items. Consumers              CHANGES AT PLAZA DEL NORTE. CV
will be able to access these discounts electronically,   Entertainment Group has shut down its 6-screen
at store shelves (electronic coupon dispenser), by e-    multiplex in Hatillo’s Plaza del Norte, one of
mail, and eventually through cable boxes.                several high-profile tenants that recently exited or
                                                         are about to leave the shopping center owned by
  PUEBLO MAY SELL NON-PERFORMING                         stateside Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
STORES. After indicating no interest in selling          Developers Diversified Realty (DDR), reports
any of its locations, supermarket chain Pueblo may       Caribbean Business (Jan.26, 2007). In addition to
have revised its options by paying special attention     the previously reported closing of Gap, sources say
to an offer from Econo Supermarkets to acquire           1-2-3 and Infinito, which has filed for Chapter 11
several Pueblo stores at an estimated US$40              bankruptcy protection along with sister stores
million, reports Caribbean Business (Jan. 22, 2007).     Geraldine, Jackie’s, Ranger and Fashion Bazaar, are
Econo’s offer is not the only one Pueblo is said to      also leaving one of Puerto Rico’s largest malls. On
be considering. One of Puerto Rico’s fastest-            the bright side, sources say Marshalls will soon
growing chains, Grande, has also expressed interest      replace Pitusa, another recent casualty at Plaza del
in acquiring a handful of Pueblo’s locations,            Norte. According to DDR’s website, 61,874 sq f,
according to industry sources, who say Grande is         almost 10%, of the mall is now vacant. Sources say
also talking about an investment of some US$40           rent and common area maintenance charges soared
million. Grande’s acquisition, however, will be          at DDR-owned malls since the REIT purchased 15
contingent upon availability of the right locations      Puerto Rico malls for US$1.15 billion in late 2004.
and pricing structure in line with Grande’s long-
term expansion plans. Pueblo, founded in 1955, is          RETAIL STORES PURCHASE. Switzerland-
owned and operated by Venezuela’s Cisneros               based Dufry has agreed to buy Luis Bared’s 23
Group.                                                   retail operations for US$157 million, reports
                                                         Caribbean Business (Jan. 26, 2007). The Bared
  DOWNTOWN BAYAMON RENOVATION.                           Group includes Alliance Duty Free, the duty-free
The municipality of Bayamón will seek proposals          concessionaire of the shops at Luis Muñoz Marin
from private-sector entities interested in entering      International Airport in San Juan, the Perfume
into real-estate development initiatives geared to       Palace chain of fragrance stores, with outlets in
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                      29


Aruba, Curaçao, St. Martin and St. Thomas, as well     issued thousands of illegal prescriptions for drugs
as in the San Juan airport, said Lubna Haj Issa,       such as Hydrocodone, Phentermine and Diazepam.
Dufry’s spokeswoman.                                   They were allegedly involved with Internet
                                                       Facilitation Centers and Internet pharmacies that
  SCOTIABANK MAY BUY BANCORP. Bank                     solicited customers throughout the US. These
of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-largest bank, has       centers would then refer the customers to these
offered to buy First BanCorp of Puerto Rico, reports   physicians using numerous web sites and e-mail
Bloomberg News (Jan. 30, 2007). First BanCorp,         addresses.
based in Santurce, PR, reportedly has a market
value of US$842 million.                                 SPIRIT FLIGHTS TO AGUADILLA. Spirit
                                                       Airlines on Jan. 16 announced 5 times weekly
  AUTOLOGICA TO OPEN IN OFFICE.                        nonstop service from its Ft Lauderdale, Fla. hub to
Autologica S.A., a specialist in software for auto     Aguadilla, its second destination in Puerto Rico and
dealers and distributors (known in the industry as     30th overall, beginning April 12, said Chief
Dealer Management Systems or DMS), said Jan. 30        Marketing Officer Barry Biffle. Details: Rebecca
they will open an office in San Juan next April.       Rivera. Email: rebecca.rivera@spiritair.com
―Our goal is to become the leading DMS for
medium-sized dealerships,‖ said Sales Manager                         ST. KITTS-NEVIS
Ana Drovandi. Details: Autologica S.A., Argentina.
Ana Drovandi, +54-341 411 0904. Email:                   SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION. A World Bank
anapauladrovandi@autologica.net.             Web:      loan will help pay for the OECS Education
www.autologica.net                                     Development Project (Loan No. 7125-SC; Project:
                                                       P075978). Part of the funds will be used for Phase
  ZAP SIGNS DISTRIBUTION ACCORD.                       II of Construction of the The Saddlers Secondary
Rising gas prices prompted a distributor of gasoline   School. Deadline: March 23, 2007. Refer to:
scooters, AJ Imports, to enter into a venture with     Contract ID No. TD0010C/SKN/WB/ICB/06.
ZAP to market its electric cars, scooters,             Details: Attn: Robert V. Morris. Project Mgmt Unit.
seascooters, bicycles, personal transporters and       Ministry of Education. World Bank/OECS
other alternative fueled vehicles, it was reported     Education Development Project. PO Box 333.
Jan. 19. ZAP Director of International Affairs         Education Planning Division. Lockhart St.
Fernando Cancela said hundreds of vehicles have        Basseterre, St. Kitts. Tel: (869) 466-3766. Email:
already been shipped to AJ Imports, which sells and    pmueduskn@caribsurf.com
rents vehicles serving primarily the tourism
industry. Details: Francisco Javier Rodriguez, AJ       RENEWABLE ENERGY EXPLORATION.
Imports.                                               The Nevis Island Administration has given West
Email: ajtrading6465@yahoo.com. Eveline Souza.         Indies Power (Nevis) Ltd an 18-month license to
ZAP Media Relations. (707) 525-8658 x 216.             explore geothermal resources on
Email: esouza@ zapworld. com. Sherri Haskell.          the island, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb.9,
ZAP.         707-525-8658      x    232.     Email:    2007).
shaskell@zapworld.com. Web: www.zapworld.com.
                                                                          ST. LUCIA
  7 DOCTORS INDICTED ON DRUG
CHARGES. US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)                BAN ON UK POULTRY. St. Lucia has placed a
officials announced the indictment of 7 doctors        ban on all poultry and poultry products from the
licensed here, reports Caribbean Net News (Jan. 31,    United Kingdom, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb.
2007). Charges include conspiracy to distribute        13, 2007). The action followed a Jan. 27 report by
controlled substances, wire fraud, and money           The International Organization for Animal Health
laundering. The DEA’s Operation Click 4 Drugs          (OIA) of an outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1),
targeted an organization that distributed large        commonly known as the bird flu, in the United
quantities of Schedule III and Schedule IV             Kingdom. Other countries that import poultry and
controlled substances via the internet. The doctors
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       30


poultry products from the UK have implemented          plant for producing ammonia, urea ammonia nitrate
similar bans.                                          and melamine.

     ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES                        BP TO DRILL 10 WELLS. BP Trinidad &
                                                       Tobago, majority owned by Britain’s BP Plc, plans
  HYDRO        POWER        PLANT       REHAB,         to drill 10 wells over a decade when it resumes oil
UPGRADES. St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd         and gas exploration here in 2008, said Sheldon
(VINLEC) is seeking to rehabilitate and upgrade        Daniel, VP for Communications & External Affairs,
two hydropower plants. The tender calls for civil,     reports Reuters (Feb. 9, 2007). BPTT
electromechanical and hydro-mechanical works on        abandoned drilling last August at the Ibis Deep
an engineering, procurement and construction basis     well, the deepest well ever drilled in the country,
(EPC). Deadline to Prequalify: April 30, 2007.         after failing to find new sources of hydrocarbon.
Details: CEO,St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd.
Paul’s Ave. PO Box 856. St Vincent & the                 BUSINESSES VOICE CONCERN OVER
Grenadines. E-mail: ceo@vinlec.com                     RISING CRIME. The Chamber of Industry &
                                                       Commerce, the largest private sector group
  MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST. A World Bank                   representing businesses here, delivered a strong
loan supports an HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control         message to the Patrick Manning administration and
Project (7251-SV; Project ID: P076799). Part of the    all parliamentarians to address the spiraling crime
funds will pay for a Medical Technologist in the       situation, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb. 1,
Pathology Lab of the Milton Cato Memorial              2007). The group wants passage of the DNA
Hospital. Deadline: March 9, 2007. Details: Project    legislation and Police Reform Act, both of which
Coordinator. SVG Coordinating Unit. Central            have long been debated.
Planning Division. Ministry of Finance &
Economic Planning. Bay St. Kingstown, St. Vincent                              ***
& the Grenadines. Tel: (784) 457-1738. Fax: 784-         SUGAR INDUSTRY SHUTDOWN. Trinidad &
451-2033. E-mail: svgpcu@vincysurf.com                 Tobago will shut down its centuries-old sugar
                                                       industry, which was pushed to the brink of collapse
                   SURINAME                            by cuts in subsidies from the European Union,
                                                       reports AP (Jan. 24, 2007):
  PRODUCTION SHARING WITH IRISH OIL
PRODUCER. State-owned oil company Staatsolie             The nation will shutter the business after this
and its subsidiary Paradise Oil signed production-     year's crop is produced, said Agriculture Minister
sharing contracts     with Irish oil producer Tullow   Jarrette Narine. Raffique Shah, chief of the Cane
Oil, reports Caribbean Net News (Feb. 14, 2007).       Farmers Association, said Prime Minister Patrick
Paradise Oil and Tullow will jointly execute           Manning accepted a proposal to end all sugar
explorations on the Uitkijk Block and Coronie          production in the country, which has built one of the
Block, two on-shore concessions here owned by          region's    fastest-growing    economies     around
Staatsolie, said John McKenna, Tullow’s Regional       petroleum-based exports. Shah represents the
Exploration Mgr for the Americas and Asia.             majority of the 4,000 cane farmers who have been
Staatsolie Mgr Marc Waaldijk said in the first stage   producing since the government closed its state-
Tullow will invest up to US$8.5 million.               owned sugar company, Caroni Ltd., in 2003. He
                                                       said the remaining farmers have proposed that
            TRINIDAD & TOBAGO                          producers be paid compensation for stopping
                                                       cultivation and expect government support when
  US$1.1       BILLION        PETROCHEMICAL            switching to another crop. He estimated that more
PLANT. German engineering conglomerate MAN             than 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) of cane fields
said that it secured a contract worth 833 million      would be freed for food production;
euros (US$1.1 billion) to build a petrochemicals
complex, reports AFP (Feb. 7, 2007). MAN said            Since Caroni's closure, annual sugar production
that its Ferrostaal unit won the contract to build a   has fallen from 1.3 million metric tons (1.4 million
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                       31


U.S. tons) to the 400,000 metric tons (440,900 US      deal. In Dec. 2004, Palace Holdings and New York-
tons) expected for 2007. Trinidad has been paying      based Future Ltd, doing business as Caribbean
an annual US$12 million (euro9.2 million) subsidy      Shining Star, entered into a purchase agreement for
to the industry, said Wayne Inniss, who headed a       $18.6 million. Future Ltd never came up with the
panel designed to help farmers improve production.     money, but filed documents claiming its interest in
The sugar industry was born under British rule in      the property, which restricted Palace Holdings'
the 1700s, when cane harvested with slave labor        ability to sell it. To clear the title and ready the
was processed into sugar and rum to be sold in         resort for a new buyer, Palace Holdings went to
Britain.                                               court. In Dec. 2005, a ruling by a District Court
                                                       Magistrate Judge nullified Future Ltd's claim to the
  Trinidad is one of several former British            property.
Caribbean colonies being squeezed out of the sugar
industry due largely to the EU imposing a 36% cut        Wyndham says it plans to convert the property
in sugar subsidies for producers from the Caribbean,   into its flagship Caribbean timeshare resort. It will
Africa and the Pacific.                                undergo a US$40 million renovation including
                                                       conversion of 290 hotel rooms into 143 furnished,
               TURKS & CAICOS                          condo timeshare units, said Franz Hanning,
                                                       Wyndham Vacation Ownership president/CEO.
  RULING PARTY RE-ELECTED. The ruling
Progressive National Party (PNP), led by Premier                             ***
Dr Michael Misick, has emerged victorious in              CABLE TV SALE. Bankrupt Innovative
general elections here, capturing 13 of the 15         Communications Corp., the largest telecom
electoral seats, reports the Govt. Information         company here, to repay creditors, plans to sell
Service (Feb. 10, 2007). The People’s Democratic       Martinique TV Cable and Guadeloupe-based World
Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, secured the            Satellite Group for US$70 million (euro54.1
remaining 2 seats                                      million), said owner Jeffrey Prosser, reports AP
                                                       (Feb. 8, 2007):
             U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
                                                         Prosser and two of his companies - Innovative
  HOTEL SOLD, AGAIN. After being bought a              Communications Corporation LLC and Emerging
few months ago, the former Grand Beach Palace          Communications - filed for bankruptcy on July 31,
Hotel has changed ownership again to a subsidiary      after defaulting on loans to creditors. The buyer of
of Wyndham Worldwide, reports The Virgin               the French Caribbean cable companies was a
Islands Daily News (Jan. 24, 2007):                    privately held Martinique-based company, Prosser
                                                       said, but declined to give its name. The two serve
  Wyndham bought the 25-acre Smith Bay                 50,000 customers in the French Caribbean;
property from Palm Resorts Holding Co. for
US$31 million. In November, St. Thomas-based             St. Croix-based Innovative owns all land
Palm Resorts paid US$17.5 million for the 290-         telephone lines in the U.S. Virgin Islands, cable TV
room resort, which has been closed for more than       and newspaper, The Virgin Islands Daily News.
two years. Also under the Wyndham umbrella is the      After a bankruptcy hearing, said he hoped to sell the
Wyndham Sugar Bay Report & Spa, also located in        land-line phone company to the USVI government
Smith Bay. In Nov. 2003, Palace Holdings paid          for US$650 million (euro502.4 million). Officials
US$9.75 million for the resort - formerly known as     have proposed using revenue from the network to
Renaissance Grand Beach Resort - from CTF St.          support the debt-ridden government pension system.
Thomas Corp. In Aug. 2004, Palace Holdings
closed the resort after months of low occupancy,                               ***
low profits, and labor disputes;                         CARAMBOLA RESORT TO BE RE-
                                                       FLAGGED. Owners of the Carambola Beach
  The closure laid off about 300 employees, and        Resort on St. Croix, J.S. Carambola LLP, signed a
the owners agreed to a US$1 million severance          deal with Ocean Properties Ltd., a Marriott
                       Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                          32


franchisee, reports Caribbean Investor (Jan. 12,       Guyana         .      175.3 179.4 133.0 140.8
2007). It will be renamed the Renaissance              Haiti                 688.1 809.4 458.6 508.6
Carambola Beach Resort. The 151-unit resort and        Honduras             3243.9 3693.3 3919.9
golf club, opened in the 1960s by RockResorts,         3893.03
founded by Laurence Rockefeller, is undergoing         Jamaica              1687.2     2035.0 410.7     561.4
renovation of guest rooms, public areas and            Martinique              34.4      32.4  24.5      44.6
landscaping. A second phase includes plans to add      Montserrat              4.8       14.4   1.0      0.8
100 rooms by 2009, said Larry Vaughan, managing        Netherlands Ant.     1134.8     1485.3 970.4    1163.7
partner. Guests will enjoy playing privileges at the   Nicaragua             619.8     755.2 1226.6    1580.3
nearby Robert Trent Jones-designed Carambola           Panama               2168.8    2706.7 349.4      404.7
Golf Course.                                           St. Kitts & Nevis      94.0      127.2 51.9      52.9
                                                       St. Lucia             134.7      151.5 33.5      32.4
                  DATA BASE                            St. Vincent & Gren     45.3       58.3 15.8       2.1
                                                       Suriname             243.6     258.2 171.2      171.7
      U.S. Trade with the Caribbean Basin              Trinidad & Tobago    1439.3    1614.8 8342.4   8822.2
             December 2005, 2006                       Turks & Caicos I      237.9     365.7 9.6        12.2
               (millions of US$)
                   U.S. exports U.S. imports              Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Details: Nick
                          (F.A.S.)     (c.i.f.)        Orsini (301-763-6959) or Vanessa Ware (301-763-
                      2005    2006    2005             2311), Foreign Trade Division.
2006
Anguilla            32.3     43.0       3.8 4.3               Tourism Stop-Over Arrivals, 2006
Antigua & Barbuda 189.9 194.2           4.6
5.9                                                                         %change
Aruba                   547.0      511.3 3026.1        Destination             Period            Arrivals vs.
2922.3                                                 2005
Bahamas               1768.9 2288.2 726.2              Anguilla                        Jan-Sep         56,014
475.4                                                  +18.7
Barbados               392.8     443.1      33.3       Antigua                        Jan-Oct         210,315
35.2                                                   +3.0
Belize                  216.9     238.8 104.2          Aruba                          Jan-Oct         573,628
155.9                                                  -7.7
Bermuda                489.2      637.7     88.2       Bahamas                         Jan-Oct      1,276,377
16.6                                                   +0.5
British Virgin I      122.7      218.7      34.1       Barbados                       Jan-Sep         420,962
27.5                                                   +4.1
Cayman Islands         677.6      631.8     54.3       Belize                          Jan-Aug        181,717
15.6                                                   +4.7
Costa Rica             3595.4 4132.4 3601.8            Bermuda                         Jan-Nov        283,258
4083.8                                                 +10.0
Cuba                     361.5      347.8       -      Bonaire                        Jan-Jun          32,266
0.2                                                    -5.9
Dominica           61.5     68.0      3.6    3.3       British Virgin Islands         Jan-Nov         320,334
Dominican Rep.       4708.5 5347.8 4721.5              +4.2
4649.2                                                 Cancun (Mexico)           Jan-Nov        1,425,833    -
El Salvador      1846.2 2156.5 2052.5 1919.1           31.4
French Guiana      26.9     33.2      0.1    0.6       Cayman Islands                 Jan-Nov         239,871
Grenada            82.4     75.6     6.2     4.9       +64.1
Guadeloupe         54.0    65.2      2.2     2.5       Cuba                            Jan-May      1,128,261
Guatemala        2813.0 3,518.3 3342.3                 +4.3
3326.4
                      Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                        33


Curacao                    Jan-Nov        212,417     Bermuda                      Jan-Nov        335,573
+5.0                                                  +36.5
Dominican Republic*       Jan-Nov        3,577,186    British Virgin Islands     Jan-Nov          381,630
+8.2                                                  +0.1
Grenada                    Jan-Oct         98,188     Cayman Islands               Jan-Nov      1,719,889
+21.9                                                 +7.6
Guyana                 Jan-Oct         90,084     -   Curacao                      Jan-Nov        273,179
4.9                                                   +14.8
Haiti                      Jan-Jul         59,800     Dominican Republic         Jan-Sep          231,990
0.0                                                   +3.0
Jamaica                    Jan-Nov      1,510,471     Grenada                   Jan-Oct       147,813 -
+15.0                                                 22.5
Martinique                Jan-Oct         427,028     Jamaica                      Jan-Nov      1,159,448
+5.2                                                  +15.4
Montserrat              Jan-Nov         6,202     -   Martinique                   Jan-Oct         61,181
17.5                                                  0.0
Puerto Rico                Jan-Sep      1,153,536     Puerto Rico                   Jan-Sep       972,901
+2.4                                                  +2.8
Saba                   Jan-Sep          8,830     -   St. Lucia                 Jan-Nov     301,248      -
0.2                                                   10.5
St. Eustatius          Jan-Jun          5,236     -   St. Maarten               Jan-Sep 1,027,047        -
1.2                                                   1.2
St. Lucia              Jan-Nov       275,449      -   St. Vincent & Gren.         Jan-Sep          63,872
5.0                                                   +85.8
St. Maarten                Jan-Sep        355,206     Trinidad & Tobago           Jan-Apr          62,897
+0.7                                                  +63.9
St. Vincent & Gren.       Jan-Sep          73,742     U.S. Virgin Islands      Jan-Nov 1,681,793         -
+3.6                                                  1.7
Suriname                Jan-Mar       34,887      -    *Non-Resident air arrivals
6.3                                                   **Non-resident Hotel registrations only
Trinidad & Tobago      Jan-Jun       232,743      -   Source: The Caribbean Tourism Organization,latest
1.0                                                    data supplied by member countries, available as of
U.S. Virgin Islands    Jan-Oct       563,507      -                       Dec. 13,2006
1.4
                                                                         CALENDAR
      Tourism Cruise Ship Arrivals, 2006
                                            %           Details and contact information for most events
change                                                listed here may be obtained on the website
Destination             Period       Arrivals   vs.   www.calendar.caribseek.com. Readers are invited
2005                                                  to submit information on relevant activities, at least
Antigua & Barbuda      Jan-Sep       304,659      -   45 days prior to date of your activity. Mail
2.3                                                   to: Caribbean UPDATE, 116 Myrtle Ave., Millburn
Aruba                     Jan-Nov         507,458     NJ 07041. U.S.A. Email: kalwagenheim@cs.com.
+7.8                                                  Some dates are tentative, all are subject to change;
Bahamas                Jan-Oct      2,509,263     -   readers are urged to reconfirm prior to making
6.4                                                   travel plans.
Barbados               Jan-Sep        351,574     -
11.5                                                   Feb. 28-March 3: Rio Group Summit at the
Belize                 Jan-Aug        440,384     -   Guyana International Conference Center (GICC).
23.1                                                  The Heads of 19 Latin American countries meet on
                                                      March 3. There will be a meeting of National
                        Caribbean UPDATE March 2007                                                         34


Coordinators on Feb. 28 followed by the meeting of       Campillos@mercer.com. Mercer Human Resource
Foreign Ministers on March 1.                            Consulting. Stephanie L. Poe, Tel: +1 202-331-
  March 5-9: Pre tournament matches of cricket           5210. Email: stephanie.poe@mercer.com
World Cup in Barbados, Trinidad, St. Vincent and           April 28: Finals of cricket World Cup, Barbados
Jamaica.                                                   April 29-May 5: Stanford International Bank
  March 11-12: 5th Annual Latin American                 sponsors the 40th Antigua Sailing Week. 5,000
Leadership Forum. Dominican Republic. Organized          spectators watch as more than 1,500 participants
by CG/LA. Details: Tel: 202-776-0990. Web:               including Olympic, America's Cup and around-the-
www.cg-la.com                                            world sailors pit their skills in more than 200 boats.
  March 13-25: First round of cricket World Cup,         Details: www.sailingweek .com. And: Heather
in St. Kitts, Jamaica, Trinidad and St. Lucia.           Keroes. YPB&R. Tel: P: 407.838.1704. F:
  March 15: The Dominican Republic holds a               407.875.1115. E: heather.keroes@ ypbr. com. W:
summit to prepare a stronger regional plan to            www. ypbr.com
combat trafficking of illegal drugs. Attending will        May: World Tourism Organization holds its 46th
be Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti and the US, some of        annual meeting, in El Salvador. Some 25 countries
the countries in the region with the strongest ties to   from the Americas and Spain will be represented.
the illegal drug trade.                                    May 13: Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing
  March 27: 1s Annual Doing Business in Puerto           Tournament
Rico Summit, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York               June 3-5: 37th General Assembly of the
City. Hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of               Organization of American States (OAS) meets in
Commerce. An event to promote business                   Panama. The theme: ―Energy for Development.‖
investments and opportunities. Details: Tel: 787-          June 21-24: 11th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival.
721-6060,            Ext.         2209.         Web:     Among the performers will be Michael Bolton, who
www.doingbusinessinpr.com.                               has has earned multiple honors including BMI’s
  March 27-April 21: Second round of cricket             Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year and
World Cup in Barbados, Guyana, Grenada and               Million-Air awards, ASCAP’s Writer and Publisher
Antigua.                                                 Awards and a Hitmaker Award from the
  April 2-3: The Natural Resource Summit of the          Songwriters Hall of Fame.Details: Donna
Americas, focuses on mining opportunities in the         Jannine/Candice         Adams-Kimmel.          Adams
Hemisphere, at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise           Unlimited. (212) 956-5900. E-mail: donna@adams-
Island, Bahamas, 140 exhibitors and 40                   pr.com
presentations by producers and explorers. Details:         July 28-29: Sir Vivien Richards Heineken Golf
Tel:         305        669        6873.        Web:     Classic, Antigua & Barbuda
www.premierconferences. com.           Email: Diana        July 28-August 7: 50th annual Antigua Carnival
Snyder, snyder@premierconferences.com.                   celebrations
  April 5-9: The 36th Annual Carifta Games (the                                  ***
Caribbean Olympics) at the new Turks & Caicos
National Stadium. Details: Government Information          Sept. 27-30: Caribbean Gift and Craft Show,
Service.      Tel:    (649)     946-2801/8;      Exts.   2007, Curacao.         Details: Caribbean Export
40916/40917/40925. Fax: (649) 946-1311. E-mail:          Development Agency. Tel: (246) 436-0578. Fax:
gis@gov.tc.                                     Web:     (246) 436-9999. Website: www.carib-export.com.
www.turksandcaicosislands.gov.tc                         Email: clowe@carib-export.com
  April 24-25: Semifinals of cricket World Cup, St.        Oct. 31: "Jubilation" World Gospel Festival,
Lucia and Jamaica.                                       Antigua & Barbuda.
  April 25-27: Execs from firms with business
interests in Latin America & the Caribbean will
learn about managing human resource issues at the
10th Latin America and Caribbean HR Forum,
Miami InterContinental Hotel. Details: www.
mercerHR. com/ hrforum. Natalia Campillos. Tel:
+44 20 7178 3184 (tel.& fax). Email: Natalia.

				
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