Government authorities

Relevant authorities

What are the relevant government agencies or departments with authority over projects in the typical project sectors? What is the nature and extent of their authority? What is the history of state ownership in these sectors?

The relevant government agencies or departments with authority over projects in the typical project sectors are:

  • oil and gas: the Ministry of Industry and Commerce regulates, supervises and controls the distribution, importation and commercialisation of oil and gas in the Dominican Republic; however, the Ministry of Energy and Mines regulates the exploration, exploitation, extraction and policies concerning these natural resources;
  • mining: the Ministry of Energy and Mines is the governing body in charge of overseeing mining activities in the country and granting exploration, exploitation and extraction permits and concessions to private parties. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources also grants environmental licences and permits to mining projects in the country;
  • public private partnerships: PPP projects are regulated and supervised by the General Direction of Public Private Partnerships. This government agency is in charge of the supervision of PPP Law No. 47-20. The purpose of the law is to create a new source of executing public interest projects using private capital and initiative along with government cooperation;
  • chemical refining is regulated by the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines;
  • water is regulated by the National Institute of Potable Water and Sewerage, the General Directorate of Water Resources and each city’s local water and sewer system administrator;
  • tourism and real estate development are regulated by the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources;
  • free zones are under the authority of the National Free Zones Council and Association of Free Zones;
  • the energy sector is regulated by the General Electricity Law No. 25-01. The government entities in charge of regulating the sector are the Superintendence of Electricity, the National Energy Commission and the Dominican National Electrical Corporation. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Energy and Mines are also involved in granting licences and permits to energy projects in the country;
  • the transportation sector is divided into three subsectors:
    • ground transportation, regulated by National Institute of Transit and Ground Transportation;
    • air transportation, regulated by the National Institution of Civil Aviation; and
    • maritime transportation, regulated by the Dominican Navy and the National Authority for Maritime Affairs;
  • ports and public construction projects are under the authority of the Ministry of Public Works, the Dominican Port Authority and the Dominican Navy. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources also grants environmental licences and permits in this sector; and
  • telecommunications: the Dominican Telecommunications Institute is in charge of telecommunication projects.

Legal issues of general application

Government permission

What government approvals are required for typical project finance transactions? What fees and other charges apply?

Government approval of project finance transactions is only required in certain sectors, such as in free zones, telecommunications, and energy, mining, and port concessions.

Registration of financing

Must any of the financing or project documents be registered or filed with any government authority or otherwise comply with legal formalities to be valid or enforceable?

All security agreements must be executed or translated into Spanish, notarised and registered as described above. If executed abroad, agreements must be apostilled.

The financing agreement only needs to be translated if it will be enforced pursuant to local laws.

Arbitration awards

How are international arbitration contractual provisions and awards recognised by local courts? Is the jurisdiction a member of the ICSID Convention or other prominent dispute resolution conventions? Are any types of disputes not arbitrable? Are any types of disputes subject to automatic domestic arbitration?

The Dominican Republic has been a member of the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards since 2001. The country is also a signatory, since 2008, to the Inter-American Convention for International Commercial Arbitration. Local courts are bound to recognise arbitration agreements as well as the mandatory referral of disputes relating to these agreements to arbitration.

According to Law No. 489-08, matters of public order cannot be judged in arbitration; nor can matters that cannot be part of a private settlement enter into arbitration, including cases about family law (divorce, child support, alimony), foreclosure procedures, land litigation (related to the matters of the Land Law), and criminal cases.

According to Law No. 489-08, judicial enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is subject to a court order, called an exequatur, issued by local courts. The main requirements for the Dominican courts to grant an exequatur are that the legal requirements in the country of origin have been correctly applied and that the ruling has been authenticated and apostilled, and has complied with the formalities required by the law of origin.

Law governing agreements

Which jurisdiction’s law typically governs project agreements? Which jurisdiction’s law typically governs financing agreements? Which matters are governed by domestic law?

As a result of the principle of contractual freedom, and according to Law No. 544-14, foreign law may be chosen as the applicable law to an agreement to the extent that such a choice of law is not contrary to public policy. New York law and the laws of England and Wales are frequently chosen for finance agreements.

As for matters governed by domestic law, it should be noted that securities involving real estate assets and movable assets collateral located in the Dominican Republic are subject to Dominican law as a matter of public policy order, although overlying credits agreements can be subject to foreign law.

Submission to foreign jurisdiction

Is a submission to a foreign jurisdiction and a waiver of immunity effective and enforceable?

Yes. However, judgments from foreign jurisdictions are not enforceable in the country until the Civil and Commercial Chamber of the National District’s Court of First Instance authorises their validity and enforceability in the Dominican Republic via an exequatur.

Environmental, health and safety laws

Applicable regulations

What laws or regulations apply to typical project sectors? What regulatory bodies administer those laws?

Project sector

Law

Regulatory body

Banking

Law No. 183-02, the Monetary and Financial Law No. 45-20 on Movable Assets Warranty

Superintendency of Banks

Monetary Board

Central Bank

Trusts/Fiduciaries

Stock exchange

Law No. 189-11, related to the development of the mortgage market and trust

 

Law No. 249-17 of Stock Market of the Dominican Republic

Bureau of Internal Revenue

Superintendency of Stock Exchange

Superintendency of Banks

Mineral extraction, oil and gas

Law No. 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources

Law No. 146-71, related to the regulation of mining activities

Ministry of Energy and Mines

Law No. 100-13, which creates the Ministry of Energy and Mines

Water

Law No. 5994-62 and the Regulation for its application

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources

Ministry of Public Health

National Institute of Potable Water

National Institute of Water Resources

Law No. 5852

Law No. 238-62

Law No. 5994-62, which creates the National Institute of Potable Water and Sewerage

Electricity (generation, distribution and transmission)

Law No. 125-01 and the Regulation for its application

Ministry of Energy and Mines

Superintendency of Electricity

National Energy Commission

Dominican National Electrical Corporations

Ports

Law No. 70, dated 16 December 1970

Port Authority

National Civil Aviation Institute

Dominican Navy

Dominican Customs

Regulation No. 1673-80 related to Port Services

Regulation No. 309-98 related to Port Concessions

Telecommunications

General Telecommunications Law No. 153-98 and the Regulation for its application

National Institute of Telecommunications

Tourism (hospitality)

Law No. 84-79, that creates the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR)

Ministry of Tourism

Ministry of Public Health

General Tourism Law No. 541-69

Law No. 158-01 on Promotion of Tourism Development

Law No. 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources

Insurance

Law No. 146-02, the Insurance Law

Insurance Superintendency

Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Public Procurement

Law No. 47-20 of Public Partner Partnerships

Law No. 340-06 of Public Procurement

Ministry of Presidency

General Directorate of PPP

PPP Council

General Directorate of Public Procurement

 

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the information above is accurate.

6 June 2020.