ECUADOR A new Customs Law was approved this year, with the declared intention of liberalizing international trade. However, it adds a 3 per cent duty on imported newsprint, presses, eqUipment and other supplies for the media. Since the Dominican Republic gained its independence in 1844, newsprint had been declared free of tariffs and customs duties of any type. Presses and other eqUipment needed by the media had entered the country free of duty since 1978. In September, election officials released the text of enabling legislation for the Electoral Law. Drafted by the Elections Board of the Central Election Commission GCE), the agency in charge of organizing and supervising the electoral process, it deals with such matters as the preparation and publication of opinion polls, campaign advertising, and the reporting of election results. It has caused concern in the media and among political parties, which see its language as violating freedom of expression, free access to news sources, freedom of commerce and enterprise, and other liberties. It has been widely protested, in editorials and statements in newspapers and in the broadcast media, with strong backing from political parties, judges and other professionals. Heeding the public clamor, the JCE withdrew the measure and sent it back for review. The Dominican Newspaper Association (SDD) has asked the JCE to give it an opportunity to voice its views before any final decision is taken. The IAPA joined the SDD in warning that the new Electoral Law contains provisions about the "use of communication media" in the electoral process that could lead to abuse of public freedoms. It appears the JCE is now prepared to respond.