A moto-taxi driver transports a Haitian woman and the products she purchased at a market in the border town Dajabon, Dominican Republic. (Photo: AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)
In an effort to tighten border control, the Haitian government has proposed to reduce the number of days that Dominican tax-free border markets operate.
The cut is an attempt to better handle the flow of commerce on the border among merchants. Haiti has also proposed to boost revenue by getting strict with tax collection on imported goods, reports the Associated Press.
The country’s efforts to control the border worry Haitian and Dominican vendors who make a living in the markets on the countries’ shared border. The vendors fear that the restrictions will heighten the financial hardships they are already faced with.
"We might have to take drastic measures," said Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina.
So far, the country has already increased routine inspections of vehicles passing near the border.
"If the street merchants don't come here, we can't survive," Enel Floristal, a 45-year-old Haitian merchant who sells Dominican eggs to vendors from his homeland, told the Associated Press. "We can't sell anything to the buyers and so we can't feed our children."
Merchants reportedly say that Haiti's move to collect more taxes will increase the prices on consumer goods and make it harder for vendors to sell to the majority of poor residents.
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