Haiti, Dom Rep in trade war amid bird flu allegation

Dominican merchants close border market over import ban

Friday, June 21, 2013

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - A travel association in the Dominican Republic says it's cancelled a meeting with Haiti's tourism minister because the Haitian government erroneously said there is avian flu in its neighbour and banned food imports.


Early in June, Haiti said it was barring poultry and egg imports because there had been an outbreak of avian flu in the Dominican Republic. But local and international health officials say there is no avian flu in the Dominican Republic. They say a few recent deaths have been due to swine flu.


Elizabeth Tovar is managing director of the Operating Tourism Association in the Dominican Republic. She said Wednesday the Haitian government's false statement had hurt Dominican tourism.


Tovar's group and four other associations of tour operators had planned to meet Friday in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo with Haitian Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin. They were to discuss tourism opportunities between the two countries, which share the island of Hispaniola.


Haiti's health minister has acknowledged the error and says a ban on Dominican meats will be lifted soon.


Merchants in the Dominican Republic had earlier shuttered a large border market in protest over neighbouring Haiti's ban on poultry and egg imports. The Dajabon market was closed Monday seeking to pressure Haiti to drop the ban. A Dominican board says the country sells about 25 million eggs and eight million chickens to Haiti every month.


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