by Luis Brito, Pei Jianrong
SANTO DOMINGO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Dominican Republic and China are working to increase mutual understanding so as to promote cooperation of mutual benefit, according to the Caribbean state's former trade representative in Beijing Rosa Ng Baez.
The two countries have stepped up exchanges since establishing diplomatic ties on May 1 this year. "We are in talks over ... deepening our mutual knowledge to achieve agreements and ties that benefit both sides," Ng Baez told Xinhua in an interview.
The former trade representative committed herself to the mission of establishing diplomatic ties between her country and China after first arriving in Beijing in 2011.
"I spent seven years in China working to make sure we took this step," Ng Baez said.
During her years in China, Ng Baez also got to know better about China's consumer market and found opportunities for such Dominican exports as pineapples, mangoes, cacao, tobacco products and organic coffee.
The establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties also benefits the Chinese businesses looking to expansion abroad. Ng Baez said Chinese companies can take advantage of a slew of incentives, the country's geographic location and its free-trade agreements with the United States and Europe to cater to the Caribbean as well as the U.S. and European markets.
The Dominican Republic is home to as many as 68 free zones or duty-free industrial parks, according to the National Free Zones Council.
"The Chinese can produce here and sell their products to the preferential markets that we have," she said, adding that "We benefit because these companies (in free zones) provide employment for Dominicans."
In her opinion, the relations between her country and China should be extended beyond trade and commerce. She said there are opportunities for cooperation in a wide range of fields.
For example, "There is much work to be done in the areas of sports, culture and academia. There are universities that would like to have exchange programs with educational institutions over there. We should give this type of exchanges all our support," said Ng Baez.
"There are no limits" to cooperation, she added.
On Thursday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi kicked off a three-nation tour through Sunday in Latin America, during which he will pay official visits to the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Suriname.