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Editorial

The Dominican Republic’s economy continues to grow apace, and though social spending remains low, the proportion of impoverished Dominicans has been declining for the last two years. A net importer of oil and gas, the country has benefited from the fall in commodity prices that has hurt so many other economies across the region. Foreign investors continue to eye the Republic with interest.

President Danilo Medina and his Dominican Liberation Party won a second election in May 2016, and as a result, business-friendly modernisation continues: February 2017 saw a change in the law regarding restructuring and insolvency, making full-scale reorganisations easier and ushering in a specialised court to cater for restructuring rather than leaving the bulk of the work to banks. A new trust law has expedited the procedure for foreclosing on mortgages, which is a boon for Dominican banks; and in late 2016, the Competition Commission gained a new executive director, which should lead to more security for small-scale strategic M&A players.

In the field of dispute resolution, ‚ÄėLaw 544‚Äô (enacted in December 2014) saw the introduction of a formal procedure to seek the recognition of foreign court judgements, which has been yielding work for lawyers for the last two years. Otherwise, there have been few changes in the sector, where litigious activity remains high (particularly white-collar crime litigation), and arbitration ‚Äďboth local and international- growing steadily. IP litigators continue to be kept busy by trade mark infringement litigation, thanks partly to the frequency with which counterfeit goods enter the country. On the regulatory side, data privacy and data protection are burgeoning areas of practice.

There is more activity on the renewable energy front, especially as regards solar power, thanks to increasingly friendly renewable energy legislation. Tourism remains hot, though foreign companies are buying up farmland as well as hotels, second homes and malls. Tax incentives for affordable housing projects continue to impact investors’ behaviour.

A handful of large firms, first and foremost Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fern√°ndez and Pellerano & Herrera, but also Castillo y Castillo, Jim√©nez Cruz Pe√Īa, OMG and DMK Abogados | Central Law, dominate the legal landscape by providing strength in depth across a number of practice areas. There are also numerous boutiques: Troncoso Leroux, Angeles Pons and JJ Roca & Asociados, for instance, are noted for their IP expertise. Squire Patton Boggs, which is the only US firm with significant presence in the Dominican Republic, is particularly strong in corporate and finance matters.

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