Dominica

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Report
July 5, 2016

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Executive SummaryShare    

The Commonwealth of Dominica (Dominica) remains an emerging market in the Eastern Caribbean with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD $442.7 million in 2015. Dominica is slowly rebuilding after Tropical Storm Erika struck the island in August 2015, causing an estimated USD $483 million in damages. The Government is focused on reconstruction efforts, which would incorporate a revised macro-economic framework that will include strengthening the fiscal policy framework. To this end, the Government of Dominica signaled its commitment to foster sustainable economic growth and reprioritize current spending and capital expenditures. Investment opportunities largely remain in the services sector, particularly eco-tourism, information and communication technologies and education. Other opportunities exist in alternative energy namely geothermal and capital works. Dominica is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). According to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Dominica’s economy is projected to grow by 4.19% in 2016. Dominica is currently ranked 91st in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report for 2016; falling two places from its 2015 ranking.

  • The Government of Dominica strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly in the sectors of hotel accommodation, including eco-lodges and flagship boutique hotels; nature and adventure tourism services; fine dining restaurants; information and technology services; film, music and video production; agro-processing; manufacturing; bulk water export and bottled water operations; medical and nursing schools; health and wellness tourism; geothermal and biomass industries; biodiversity; aquaculture; and English language training services.

The government instituted a number of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in Dominica, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, duty-free import of equipment and materials, exemption from value added tax on some capital investments, and withholding tax exemptions on dividends, interest payments and some external payments and income.

  • Dominica employs a system of eminent domain to pay compensation when property needs to be acquired in the public interest. There were no reported tendencies of the government to discriminate against U.S. investments, companies or landholdings. There are no laws mandating local ownership in specified sectors.

  • Foreign investors in Dominica can repatriate all profits, dividends and import capital. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of dividends for fully foreign-owned firms; however a mixed foreign-domestic company may repatriate profits to the extent of its foreign participation. Dominica bases its legal system on the British common law system.

  • Foreign investment in Dominica is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors are entitled to receive the same treatment as nationals of Dominica. Dominica uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety.

  • Dominica is a member of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, which permits duty free entry of many products manufactured or assembled in Dominica into markets of the United States. Dominica has no bilateral investment treaty with the United States but has bilateral investment treaties with the United Kingdom and with Germany.

Table 1

Measure

Year

Index or Rank

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions index

2014

Not ranked

transparency.org/cpi2014/results

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2015

91 of 189

doingbusiness.org/rankings

Global Innovation Index

2015

Not ranked

globalinnovationindex.org/content/page/data-analysis

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

Not available

BEA/Host government

World Bank GNI per capita

2014

USD $6,930

data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

 

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign InvestmentShare    

Attitude toward Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Dominica strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly in industries that create jobs, earn foreign currency, and have a positive impact on its citizens.

Through the Invest Dominica Authority (IDA), the government instituted a number of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in Dominica, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, duty-free import of equipment and materials, exemption from value added tax on some capital investments, and withholding tax exemptions on dividends, interest payments and some external payments and income. Fiscal incentives are provided under various laws to encourage the establishment and expansion of both foreign and domestic investment.

All proposals for investment concessions and incentives are reviewed by the IDA to ensure that the project is consistent with the national interest and provides economic benefits to the country. The IDA provides ‘one-stop shop facilitation” services to investors to guide them through the various stages of the investment process. Dominica encourages investment in the following sectors: hotel accommodation including eco-lodges and flagship boutique hotels; nature and adventure tourism services; fine dining restaurants; information and technology services; film, music and video production; agro-processing; manufacturing; bulk water export and bottled water operations; medical and nursing schools; health and wellness tourism; geothermal and biomass industries; biodiversity; aquaculture; and English language training services. Additional sectors may also be considered.

Deregulation in the telecommunications industry facilitated market access for new competitors, although historically the industry was monopolized. There are currently three service providers: Flow (formerly Cable and Wireless), Digicel, and Marpin Telecommunications.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In 2014, the OECS, of which the Commonwealth of Dominica is a member, conducted an investment policy review through the World Trade Organization. This report, which speaks to the general investment climate in the Commonwealth of Dominica, can be found: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp399_e.htm.

Laws/Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

All potential investors applying for government incentives must submit proposals for review by IDA to ensure that the project is consistent with the national interests and provides economic benefits to the country. There are no limits on foreign ownership or control. The IDA’s foreign direct investment policy is to actively pursue foreign direct investment into priority sectors, and advise the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract sustainable investment within the Commonwealth of Dominica. The main laws concerning investment in Dominica are the Invest Dominica Authority Act (2007), the Tourism Act (2005), and the Fiscal Incentives Act.

There is no general limit on the amount of foreign ownership or control in the establishment of a business. If fiscal incentives are being sought, depending upon the sector, an application is filed with the IDA, where a screening committee reviews the application and makes a decision on the incentive application. The decision-making process is relatively fast, with the investor receiving a notice within two to four weeks. Where the investment is less than Easter Caribbean Dollar (XCD) $2 million, the decision is made by a subcommittee of the cabinet called the Approval Committee. If the investment is more than XCD $2 million, the matter is submitted to the cabinet for consideration and approval. It normally takes one month for the cabinet to make a decision. Invest Dominica Authority recommended to increase this threshold.

Business Registration

The Invest Dominica Authority is the main business facilitation unit. The IDA has a website that is useful to navigate the laws, rules, procedures and registration requirements for foreign investors: www.investdominica.com. The Companies and Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) maintains an e-filing portal for most of their services including company registration on their website. However, this only allows for applications to be reviewed prior to the investor physically making a payment at the Supreme Court office. It is advisable that investors seek the advice of a local attorney prior to starting the process. Further information can be obtained from: http://www.cipo.gov.dm/. According to the 2016 World Bank Doing Business Report, business registration generally takes 12 days with five procedures. An attorney must be included in this process.

A small business is generally described as a company that employs less than 25 persons. The Ministry with responsibility for small business development announced that a draft Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Policy should be submitted shortly as well as a small business research mapping and database plan to assist the Ministry in providing an enhanced technical support system.

Industrial Promotion

Invest Dominica Authority is the investment promotion arm of the government with identified key industries to attract investment into the country.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

There are no limits on foreign control in Dominica. Foreign investment in Dominica is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors are entitled to receive the same treatment as nationals of Dominica. Foreign investors are entitled to hold up to 100% of their investment. The only restriction is the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholders License for foreign investors seeking to purchase property for residential or commercial purposes. Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors in order to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital.

Privatization Program

Dominica currently does not have a targeted program of privatization.

Screening of FDI

Through the Government of Dominica, the IDA has the authority to screen and review foreign direct investments. The review process is transparent and is contingent on the size of capital investment and the economic impact that it will have on the country.

To establish a business as a foreign investor, the applicant must:

  • Apply for a Work Permit (If applicable)
  • Register/Incorporate the business through the Companies and Intellectual Property Office
  • Register with the Inland Revenue Division and apply for a Value Added Tax (VAT) registration number
  • Register with Dominica Social Security
  • Obtain Alien Land Holding License (if applicable)
  • Obtain Physical Planning Division permission for construction of building (if applicable)
  • Seek permission from other Government Agencies (if applicable)
  • Obtain a license from the Fisheries Division (if applicable)

Under Dominica’s Economic Citizenship Program, foreign individuals may obtain citizenship in accordance with section VII of the Constitution and the 1993 Amendment to the Citizenship Act, which grants the right of citizenship (without voting rights), by investment. Applicants can contribute a minimum of USD $100,000 to the Economic Diversification Fund for a single person or an investment in designated real estate with a value of at least USD $200,000. Applicants must also provide a full medical certificate, undergo a background check and provide evidence of the source of funds before proceeding to the final stage of an interview. The government introduced a Citizen by Investment Certificate in order to minimize the risk of unlawful duplication. Further information can be obtained from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of the Commonwealth of Dominica website at: http://cbiu.gov.dm.

Competition Law

Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the competition policy applicable to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States. Member States are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for facilitating the implementation of the rules of competition. At the CARICOM level, a Caribbean Competition Commission is established to apply the rules of competition in respect of anti-competitive cross-border business conduct. The CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive business conduct, such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises, and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the Community; and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within the Community. No legislation is yet in operation to regulate competition in the Commonwealth of Dominica. The OECS agreed to establish a regional competition body to handle competition matters within its single market. The draft OECS bill was submitted to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for review. Regulation of competition in the telecommunications field is provided for under the Telecommunications Act (2000).

2. Conversion and Transfer PoliciesShare    

Foreign Exchange

Dominica is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. The currency of exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). As a member of the OECS, the Commonwealth of Dominica has a foreign exchange system that is fully liberalized. The XCD is pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of XCD $2.70: USD $1.00. As a result, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar does not fluctuate, creating a stable currency environment for trade and investment in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Remittance Policies

Companies registered in Dominica have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits free of all taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of dividends for totally foreign-owned firms; however a mixed foreign-domestic company may repatriate profits to the extent of its foreign participation.

As a member of the OECS, there are no exchange controls in Dominica and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions may be made in any currency. Importers are not required to make prior deposits in local funds and export proceeds do not have to be surrendered to government authorities or to authorized banks. There are no controls on transfers of funds. The Commonwealth of Dominica is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). Dominica signed onto an inter-governmental agreement with the United States to facilitate compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

3. Expropriation and CompensationShare    

There are no known pending expropriation cases involving American citizens. In such an event, Dominica would employ a system of eminent domain to pay compensation when property needs to be acquired in the public interest. There were no reported tendencies of the government to discriminate against U.S. investments, companies or landholdings in the reporting period. There are no laws mandating local ownership in specified sectors.

4. Dispute SettlementShare    

Legal System, Specialized Courts, Judicial Independence, Judgments of Foreign Courts

Dominica bases its legal system on the British common law system. The magistrates and the High Court administer justice in Dominica. An appeal may be taken to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Court of Appeal. In 2015, the Commonwealth of Dominica became the fourth full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice; thus making the Caribbean Court of Justice its court of final appeal and original jurisdiction.

The United States and Dominica are both parties to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction in both countries resolve private disputes.

Bankruptcy

The Commonwealth of Dominica has a bankruptcy framework that allows for certain actions by both the debtor and the creditor. The Commonwealth of Dominica is ranked 129th in the 2016 World Bank’s Doing Business Report. The Report addressed some limitations in resolving insolvency particularly the strength of the insolvency framework.

Investment Disputes

The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown is not aware of any current investment disputes in Dominica.

International Arbitration

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body within the Commonwealth of Dominica and the local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The Arbitration Act (1988) provides general and specific provisions on arbitration rules and procedures in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

The Commonwealth of Dominica is not a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of October 14th 1966; however, it is a member of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards; also known as the New York Arbitration Convention.

Duration of Dispute Resolution – Local Courts

According to the 2016 World Bank’s Doing Business Report, dispute resolution generally took 681 days, however this may vary. The slow court system and bureaucracy are widely seen as main hindrances to timely resolutions to commercial disputes. Dominica is ranked at number 83 in enforcing contracts.

5. Performance Requirements and Investment IncentivesShare    

WTO/TRIMS

While there are no formal performance requirements, government officials strongly encourage investments they believe will create jobs and increase exports and foreign exchange earnings.

Investment Incentives

In an effort to increase investment in the country, the Government of Dominica implemented a series of investment incentives, which have been codified in the Fiscal Incentives Act. These include tax holidays for up to 20 years for approved hotel and resort development projects, duty free concessions on the purchase of machinery and equipment and various tax exemptions. While there is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources, government encourages local sourcing. There are no requirements for participation either by nationals or by the government in foreign investment projects.

Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, four types of enterprise qualify for tax holidays. The length of the tax holiday for the first three depends on the amount of value added in Dominica. The fourth type, known as enclave industry, must produce goods exclusively for export outside the CARICOM region.

Enterprise Value Added Maximum Tax Holiday
Group I 50% or more 15 years
Group II 25% to 50% 12 years
Group III 10% to 25% 10 years
Enclave Enclave 15 years

Companies that qualify for tax holidays are allowed to import into Dominica duty-free all equipment, machinery, spare parts and raw materials used in production.

The Hotel Aids Act provides relief from customs duties on items brought into the country for use in construction, extension and equipping of a hotel of not less than five bedrooms. In addition, the Income Tax Act provides special tax relief benefits for hotels. These provide for granting of a tax holiday for up to 20 years for approved hotel and resort developments.

The standard corporate income tax rate is 28%. There is no capital gains tax. International Business Companies are exempt from tax. Corporate tax does not apply to exempt companies or to enterprises that have been granted tax concession.

Dominica provides companies with a further tax concession effective at the end of the tax holiday period. In effect, it is a rebate of a portion of the income tax paid based on export profits as a percentage of total profits. Full exemption from import duties on parts, raw materials, and production machinery is also available.

Research and Development

Dominica does not currently have a government financed or subsidized research and development program.

Performance Requirements

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica does not mandate local employment. The provisions of the Labor Code outline the requirements for acquiring a work permit and prohibit anyone who is not a citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica (and the OECS) to engage in employment unless they have obtained a work permit. There is a practice where work permits are granted to senior management because no qualified nationals are available for the post to recommend from among citizens of the country, a counterparty trainee. There are no excessively onerous visa, residency or work permit requirements.

Data Storage

There are no requirements for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (backdoors into hardware and software turn over keys for encryption, etc.)

6. Protection of Property RightsShare    

Real Property

Civil law protects physical property and mortgage claims. There are some special license requirements as to acquisition of land, development of buildings and expansion of existing construction, and special standards for various aspects of the tourism industry. Individuals or corporate bodies who are not citizens and who are seeking to acquire land require an Alien Landholders License prior to the execution of the transactions, depending upon the amount of land in question. A foreign national may hold less than one acre of land for residential purposes or less than three acres for commercial purposes without obtaining an alien landholding license; if more land is required then a license must be obtained, and the applicant must pay a fee equivalent to 10% of the market value of the land or of the interest in the real estate to be purchased. Applicants must meet all the submission requirements before the grant of license could be considered by the Cabinet. Dominica is currently ranked 149th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report for the ease of registering property.

Intellectual Property Rights

Dominica has a legislative framework regarding its commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights. While these legal structures governing intellectual property could be considered as strong, enforcement has been viewed as generally weak. The administration of intellectual property laws in Dominica is under the responsibility of the Attorney General. The registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks is administered by the Companies and Intellectual Property Office.

Dominica is signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970); the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). The Commonwealth of Dominica is also a member of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) establishing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy commits all 15 members to implement stronger Intellectual Property protection and enforcement. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community in 2008, contains the most detailed obligations in respect of intellectual property in any trade agreement to which Dominica is a party. The EPA gives recognition to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property. Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).”

The Comptroller of Customs of the Commonwealth of Dominica spearheads the enforcement and preventive aspects which includes the detention, seizure and forfeiture of goods. The Customs and Excise Department also conducts investigations of customs offences, administers fines and penalties.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/.

Resources for Rights Holders

U.S. Embassy Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Name: Stephen Simpson
Title: Economic/Commercial Officer
Telephone: (246) 227-4274
Email address: SimpsonSC@state.gov

Country/Economy Resources
American Chamber of Commerce for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
Name: Dustin Delany
Title: Chairman
Telephone: (246) 228-2260
Email: dd@amchambec.com

Local attorneys list: http://barbados.usembassy.gov/dominica_attorneys.html

7. Transparency of the Regulatory SystemShare    

Dominica provides a legal framework to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety. The Ministry of Finance and the Invest Dominica Authority provide oversight on the transparency of the system as it relates to investment. Dominica’s international financial services sector is governed through the International Business Corporations (IBC) Act (1996). The Financial Services Unit, which has oversight over the sector, was formally established through the Financial Services Unit Act (2008). An amendment in 2011 gave the Unit more powers particularly in the area of monitoring and regulating the compliance of commercial banks with money laundering prevention and counter-terrorism measures. Dominica’s Financial Services industry is generally regarded as transparent.

The Dominica Bureau of Standards is a statutory body established under the Standards Act of 1999. It develops, establishes, maintains and promotes standards for improving industrial development, industrial efficiency, promoting the health and safety of consumers as well as protecting the environment, food and food products, the quality of life for the citizenry and the facilitation of trade. It also conducts national training and consultations in international standards practices.

An external company that wishes to carry on business in Dominica must first be registered in Dominica. Registration is completed at the Companies and Intellectual Property Office. Companies using or manufacturing chemicals must obtain a license of their environmental and health practices from the Dominica Bureau of Standards and the Environmental Health Unit.

8. Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio InvestmentShare    

Dominica is a member of the OECS, and as such, it is also a member of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM). The ECSE is a regional securities market established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and licensed under the Securities Act of 2001, a uniform regional body of legislation governing securities market activities to facilitate the buying and selling of financial products for the eight member territories. The number of equities listed is 13 while the number of debt securities listed is 90. Market capitalization stood at USD $4.3 billion. Dominica is a member of this stock exchange, and is open to portfolio investment.

Money and Banking System, Hostile Takeovers

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) controls the currencies of several island states including Dominica. According to the most recent data available from the government, assets of commercial banks totaled USD $756.4 million at the end of January 2016, and remained relatively consistent during the previous year. The reserve requirement for commercial banks was 6% of deposit liabilities.

9. Competition from State-Owned EnterprisesShare    

State Owned Enterprises in Dominica are governed by their respective Legislation. They are headed by Boards of Directors to which the Senior Management reports. The state-owned enterprises in Dominica include the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation and Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation. Those that exist do not generally post a threat to investors, as they directly support the government in achieving its objectives.

OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs

While Dominica recognizes the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines, SOEs in Dominica are not found in the key areas earmarked for investment.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, of which Dominica is a member, does not maintain a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

10. Responsible Business ConductShare    

In Dominica, there is an awareness of responsible business conduct among both producers and consumers. The private sector is involved in projects that benefit society, including in support of environmental, social and cultural causes. Individuals benefit from business sponsored initiatives when local and foreign owned enterprises pursue volunteer opportunities and make monetary or in kind donations to local causes.

The Non-Governmental Organisation community, while comparatively small, is involved in fundraising and volunteerism in gender, health, environmental and community projects. The government at times partners with NGOs in activities. The government encourages philanthropy.

11. Political ViolenceShare    

Dominica does not have a history of political violence.

12. CorruptionShare    

There have been widely publicized allegations against some government officials. None of those allegations have been substantiated in the courts.

Dominica has laws, regulations and penalties to combat corruption, and the government generally enforces national laws. Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Integrity Commission.

The Integrity in Public Office Act requires public officials to disclose all income, assets, and personal gifts while in public office. The law established an Integrity Commission, appointed by the President, to receive and investigate complaints regarding noncompliance with or contravention of any provisions of this law.

Although Dominica does not have legislation that guarantees access to information or freedom of expression, the freedom to information is generally free in practice.

In June 2015, twelve Commonwealth Caribbean countries including Dominica established a new regional body to enhance transparency and to help fight corruption. The formation of the Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean was heralded as a major step forward in regional efforts to support integrity and address corruption. It is hoped that the new body will help to further strengthen public confidence in cross-border initiatives to enhance accountability, knowledge sharing and coordination.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

The country is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and Dominica acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 28 May 2010.

Resources to Report Corruption

-ORGANIZATION: Integrity Commission
-ADDRESS: Cross Street, Roseau, Dominica
-TELEPHONE NUMBER: 1-767-266-3436
-EMAIL ADDRESS: integritycommission@dominica.gov.dm

13. Bilateral Investment AgreementsShare    

Bilateral Taxation Treaties

Dominica has no bilateral investment treaty with the United States. Dominica has bilateral investment treaties with the United Kingdom and with Germany. Dominica is also party to the following:

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The Treaty of Chaguaramas established CARICOM in 1973. Its purpose is to promote economic integration among its fifteen (15) Member States. Investors operating in Dominica are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas goes further to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), by permitting the free movement of goods, capital and labor within CARICOM States.

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

The Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishes the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The OECS consists of seven full Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines and three associate members: Anguilla, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands. Martinique joined as an associate member in February 2015. The purpose of the Treaty is to promote harmonization among Member States in areas concerning foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The seven independent countries of the OECS ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, including goods, services and people, move without hindrance.

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community and its Member States in 2008. The EPA replaced the now expired transitional trade regime of the Cotonou Agreement. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty in CARIFORUM, to promote regional integration and economic cooperation and to foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving their trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The Agreement promotes trade related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment and protection of personal data.

Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)

The objective of the Caribbean Basin Initiative is to promote economic development through private sector initiative in Central America and the Caribbean islands by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying CBI country economies and expanding their exports. It permits duty free entry of products manufactured or assembled in Dominica into markets of the USA.

Caribbean / Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN)

CARIBCAN is an economic and trade development assistance program for Commonwealth Caribbean countries in which Canada provides duty free access to its national market for the majority of products which originate in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

14. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance ProgramsShare    

OPIC provides financing and political risk insurance to viable private sector projects, helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, and fosters economic development in new and emerging markets.

15. LaborShare    

Dominica’s minimum wage was last raised in June 2008. It varies according to the category of worker, with the lowest minimum wage set at about USD $1.50 an hour and the maximum set at around USD $2.06 an hour. The standard workweek is 40 hours for five or six days of work. The law provides overtime pay for work in excess of the standard workweek. Dominica has a labor force of about 32,630 persons, with a literacy rate of 95%.

The country’s technical and training needs are met largely by the local state college, which offers courses in various technical and vocational skills. There is also a pool of professionals to draw from in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, business, information technology and accounting. Many of the professionals in Dominica trained in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or the wider Caribbean, where many of them gained work experience before returning to Dominica.

The labor legislation in Dominica is applicable to all employees and employers; there are no waivers or exceptions regarding the application of labor laws and standards in Dominica.

Job vacancies are usually advertised in the local newspapers. Current policy recommends that the advertisement should be placed on three (3) separate occasions to ensure transparency and equal opportunity for applications by persons residing in Dominica. The final decision of who is employed remains in the hands of the employer; and not the government.

The Labor Contracts Act regulates that employees are either employed full time or by contracts. The law also regulates that all employees (contractual or not) receive shall receive a contract within 14 days of his engagement from his employer, which outlines the terms and conditions of his employment.

The labor laws clearly regulate and define layoffs and the conditions under which lay-offs can occur. These are regulated by the Protection of Employment Act Chap 89:02. Severance by redundancy is also regulated by law. Persons employed for three years or more qualify for severance pay, which is regulated under this law. There are some benefits from Social Security only when the employee reaches retirement age.

The Industrial Relations Act provides for and regulates trade unions in both public and private sectors. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the labor legislations most specifically the Industrial Relations Act Chap.89:01 provide for the right of workers to form and join independent unions, provide for the right to strike, and protect the right of workers to bargain collectively with employers. The government generally enforced laws governing worker rights effectively; penalties and remedies were effective. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination by providing that employers must reinstate workers who file a complaint of illegal dismissal, which can cover being fired for engaging in union activities or other grounds of wrongful dismissal.

Collective bargaining is permitted in all firms (both public and private) where the employees are unionized. A copy of the agreement must be lodged at the Ministry of Labor. There are no sectoral collective agreements. All unionized firms are obliged by law to negotiate terms and conditions of employment of all workers, whether or not they are members of a trade union. Dominica ratified all of the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s eight (8) core conventions, which are based on human rights and labor administration.

Restrictions on worker rights include the fact that emergency, port, electricity, telecommunications, and prison services, as well as the banana, coconut, and citrus fruit cultivation industries were deemed “essential,” which deterred workers in these sectors from going on strike. Nonetheless, in practice essential workers conducted strikes and did not suffer reprisals. The procedure for essential workers to strike is cumbersome, involving appropriate notice and submitting the grievance to the labor commissioner for possible mediation. These actions are usually resolved through mediation by the Office of the Labor Commissioner, with the rest referred to the Industrial Relations Tribunal for binding arbitration.

The Industrial Relations Act also mandates the establishment of the Industrial Relations Board and the Industrial Relations Tribunals as dispute resolution mechanisms. The Division of Labor acts as the first arbitrator with matters of investigation, mediation and conciliation. Matters are only referred to the tribunals by the Minister when conciliation fails or by request of any of the disputing parties.

There are no known serious gaps in compliance disputes as related to termination of employment, layoffs and redundancies.

Enforcement is the responsibility of the Labor Commissioner within the Ministry of Justice, Immigration and National Security. Labor laws provide that the labor commissioner may authorize the employment of a person with disabilities at a wage lower than the minimum rate to enable that person to be employed gainfully. The Employment Safety Act provides occupational health and safety regulations that are consistent with international standards. Workers have the right to remove themselves from unsafe work environments without jeopardizing their employment, and the authorities effectively enforced this right in practice. No new laws were introduced during the reporting period. However, the government announced a review of all the laws that will commence under the recently appointed Law Commission.

For more information, please see: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236682 and http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/dominica.htm.

16. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade FacilitationShare    

There are no foreign trade zones or free ports in Dominica.

17. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment StatisticsShare    

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

 

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data

Year

Amount

Year

Amount

 

Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)

2015

$442.7

2014

$552.1

http://data.worldbank.org/country/dominica

Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

Not available

2015

Not available

http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

Not available

2015

Not available

http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP

2015

Not available

2015

Not available

Not available

*Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Statistics: http://www.eccb-centralbank.org/Statistics/index.asp

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

The Commonwealth of Dominica does not appear in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

The Commonwealth of Dominica does not appear in the IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey for Sources of Portfolio Investment.

18. Contact for More InformationShare    

  • TITLE: Economic and Commercial Affairs, Political/Economic Section
  • ADDRESS OF MISSION/AIT: U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS
  • TELEPHONE NUMBER: 1-246-227-4052
  • EMAIL ADDRESS: WatsonJM@state.gov