15 Dominican Trucks Smuggling Products to Haiti Seized
- Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:43 AM
MALPASSE, Haiti (defend.ht) - At least 15 trucks, loaded with products from the Dominican Republic, were seized by Haitian authorities on Tuesday for trying to smuggle the products into the country, duty-free, under the guise of the small cross-border market trade.
The General Directorate of Customs held a press briefing convened by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe where the action was announced. Director Fritzner Jean-Baptiste told the press that it is common practice for smugglers to take advantage of the binational markets along the Haiti-Dominican border to import tons of goods.
In addition, trucks transports twenty tons of iron were stopped before crossing the border.
"These trucks are currently stationed at the border point of Belladere in Dominican territory while their shipments are destined for Haiti. Importers refuse to pay customs that are demanded for these products," said Jean-Baptiste.
"All of our warehouses and offices of the administration are filled with goods," contraband, said Directore Jean-Baptiste.
With a better control of border crossings and the presence of surveillance brigades, mounted by agents of the DGI (General Directorate of Taxes), AGD (customs), and the PNH (Police Nationale d'Haiti), we can have better coverage of the borders," the director added.
Possible Closing of All Border Markets
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is considering closing the markets along the Haiti-Dominican border because they serve more as points where Dominican products enter Haiti, duty-free, rather than centers of mutual trade.
The Haitian government estimated the total losses across the border to be $10 million per week, a half billion per year.
Dominican authorities seem unwilling to cooperate with the Haitian government in controlling the flow of what it calls contraband across the border.
The President of Dominican Republic Agrobusiness Board, Osmar Benitez, said in June that Dominicans should be concerned by the Haitian Prime Minister's consideration of closing the markets. Benitez said the borders earn $2 billion yearly for Dominican farmers who benefit from the lack of security on the border.
Related 06.25.2012: Lamothe Committed to Closing Markets on Haiti-DR Border Amid Smuggling