Pascrell Meets With Dominican Ambassador and Dominican Republic Leaders to Discuss Caribbean Recovery Efforts
Washington, DC, April 26, 2018
U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, issued the following statement on his meeting with the Dominican Ambassador to the United States, Jose Tomás Pérez Vázquez. Hosted by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), the meeting was called to discuss the Dominican Republic’s request for an exemption to U.S. global steel tariffs.
“New Jersey and New York are proud to have the highest populations of Dominican-Americans anywhere in the United States. Dominican-American communities are some of the most vibrant in my district. So ensuring the good health of the Dominican Republic and its neighbors is always a central concern to me,” said Rep. Pascrell.
“I want to thank my colleague Rep. Espaillat for inviting me and for convening this discussion. Accelerating the recovery in Puerto Rico should be a top priority in Congress. Nearly eight months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and power grid remain badly damaged, residents are still beset by blackouts, and hundreds of schools remain closed. Puerto Rico needs steel, much of which is provided by the Dominican Republic, to continue rebuilding its infrastructure.”
On March 23, 2018, global steel and aluminum tariffs announced by the Trump administration went into effect. Temporary exemptions to the tariffs have been extended to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the EU counties; only South Korea has received a permanent exemption. The Dominican Republic has applied for an exemption.
“From my position on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, I support the Dominican Ambassador’s request for an exemption agreement with U.S. Trade Representative. And I will continue looking out for the interests of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic,” Rep. Pascrell said.
The meeting was also attended by Yahaira Sousa, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Sen. Charles Mariotti of the Senate of the Dominican Republic, Dominican business leaders Jose Miguel Vega, the Commercial Director of Gerdau METALDOM, Anyarlene Bergés, Vice President of Communications and Institutional Relations of INICIA, and Cesar Dargam, the Executive Vice President of CONEP, and by U.S. Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL-05), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), and Del. Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI).
Congressman Pascrell has been dedicated to ensuring Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria. In October, Pascrell urged the Committee on Ways and Means to approve a slate of legislative items that would aid in Puerto Rico’s disaster and economic recovery and called on the Trump administration to mount a meaningful response to the humanitarian and public health crisis in Puerto Rico. Also in October, Pascrell and 12 of his House colleagues introduced a measure that would extend the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.