SANTO DOMINGO – Kingtom Aluminio SRL opened on Tuesday in the capital of the Dominican Republic, becoming the first Chinese-owned company to set up shop in this country, which does not maintain diplomatic relations with China.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Dominican President Danilo Medina and company CEO Xheng Qinqin.
The plant, which produces aluminum extrusions, will operate in one of the country’s free zones and represents a 530-million-peso investment ($10.8 million), creating 400 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs.
Kingtom’s operations “will also add value to recycling activities carried out in the country, since one of the company’s objectives is to buy aluminum waste in the national market for smelting and manufacturing processes,” Mejia’s office said in a statement.
The executive director of the Dominican Republic’s National Free Zones Council, Luisa Fernandez, said during the event that the establishment of Kingtom Aluminio “marks an important milestone.”
“This isn’t just the first manufacturing company launched with investments by business groups from the People’s Republic of China to open in our free zones, it is also the first Chinese manufacturing plant to open in the entire Dominican Republic,” she said.
The United States and Puerto Rico are the company’s main export markets.
The Dominican Republic is one of the countries that maintains official ties with Taiwan, which China considers to be a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland.
Last year, opposition lawmakers from Taiwan expressed what they believed was a deterioration of relations between Taipei and Santo Domingo, as well as the fear that the Dominican Republic might cut off ties with Taiwan to establish a closer relationship with China.
However, sources from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Relations have said that bilateral relations are strong and that there are no immediate risks that the two countries might sever ties.