Dominican Republic – Country Profile

Dominican Republic – Country Profile

General Information

Official Name Dominican Republic
Capital Santo Domingo
Total Area 48,670 sq km
Population 9.38  million
Currency 1 CAD = 32.47 DOP (Dominican Peso)
National Holiday February 27th (Independence Day)
Language(s) Spanish (official)
Source: DFATD Foreign Relations, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 22/09/2016)

Political Information

Type of State Representative democracy
Head of State President Danilo Medina Sanchez
Next Election May 18th, 2020
Source: DFATD Foreign Relations

Economic Information

Dominican Republic Canada
GDP (PPP) $215.911 billion $2,188 trillion
GDP per capita $21 336 $60 085
GDP annual growth rate 5.9% 2.16%
GDP – composition by sector agriculture: 5.1%industry: 32.8%services: 62.2% Agriculture: 1.6%Industry: 28.2%Services: 70.3%
Inflation rate 1.9% 1.1%
Main industries Sugar processing, tourism, textiles, cement, and food processing. Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas.
Note: 2016 data in Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: DFATD Foreign Relations; Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Country Info, 
Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 12/14/2016)

Political and Economic Stability

The Dominican Republic is a middle-income country that boasts the largest economy of Central America and the Caribbean. The country survived the impacts of the global economic crisis and experienced the highest growth rates in the region in 2014 and 2015, with a rate of 7%. Dominican Republic’s economy continues to depend greatly on the United States, which receives over half of exports and 75% of tourism receipts from the country. The entry into force of the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in March 2007 triggered an immediate boost in investments and exports. The country continues to face challenges of high unemployment, underemployment, and income inequality, with the richest 10% of the population receiving 40% of GDP and the poorest half receiving less than 20% of GDP.

A relatively stable representative democracy has been established in the Dominican Republic, with free and fair elections as well as independent executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. In recent years, business legislation has brought significant improvements in tax reporting, customs procedures and banking supervision. However, it is still best practice for Canadian companies to seek legal advice before entering into formal agreements with local counterparts.

In terms of security, Global Affairs Canada recommends that Canadians exercise a high degree of caution when traveling in Dominican Republic due to the high crime rate.  For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the Global Affairs Canada Travel Report for Dominican Republic.


In terms of security, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) recommends that Canadians exercise a high degree of caution when traveling in Dominican Republic due to the high crime rate.  For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the DFATD Travel Report for Dominican Republic.

Trade Information

Trade Partners & Direction 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Average Yearly Growth
Dominican Republic Exports to the World ($CAD Million) $5,819 M $6,846 M $6,673 M $8,860 M $8,560 M 8.03%
Dominican Republic  Exports to USA ($CAD Million) $3,291 M $3,639 M $3,665 M $4,620 M $5,164 M 9.43%
Dominican Republic  Exports to Canada ($CAD Million) $47.38 M $33.26 M $41.79 M $61.76 M $91.17 M 13.99%
Canadian Exports to Dominican Republic

($ CAD Million)

$178 M $156 M $150 M $290 M $318 M 12.31%
Note: Data in millions of Canadian dollars ($CAD). Due to fluctuating nature of the CAD (it devalued 17% in 2014)
Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Trade Data Online; International Trade Centre Trade Map; World Bank World Integrated Trade Solution, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 12/14/2016)
Note: Data in thousands of Canadian dollars (CAD)
Source: Trade Data Online (Industry Canada), Trade Map (International Trade Centre), World Integrated Trade Solution (World Bank)
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: International Trade Centre Trade Map
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: Industry Canada Trade Data Online

Business Climate

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 183 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2015 report, Dominican Republic ranked 93rd overall and 57th in terms of “trade across borders”.

Although there are many reputable exporters in Dominican Republic, Canadian importers should be aware that corruption could be an issue when doing business in the country. Dominican Republic ranked 103rd out of 168 in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index where 1st place indicates least corrupt.  Canadian companies are advised to exercise strict due diligence before working with a company from Dominican Republic to ensure that it is a bona fide and reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Sustainability Initiatives

In 2009, the Dominican Republic instituted a gender equality initiative in the technology sector, which sees to it that every technology and science policy programme will incorporate a gender perspective. This was developed in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications, and the training workshops have been implemented at several ministries across the country.

This attention to the gender gap does not end there, as another program is being out nationwide, one organized by the Research Center for Women’s Action (CIPAF) and is supported by the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, which seeks to encourage and train young girls and women in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. This programme includes the organization of math and science clubs for young girls throughout the Dominican Republic.

UNICEF is instituting a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative in the Dominican Republic’s tourism and hospitality sector, one that focuses on preventing the exploitation of children. This programme provides education to hospitality service workers and management in preventing child labour and sexual exploitation, as well as providing information to guests and raising donations to continue such efforts.

Trade Opportunities

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2014, Canada and the Dominican Republic have a well-established trade and investment relationship that continues to grow as market conditions in the country improve. Canada has become a major partner of the Dominican Republic both politically and in economic terms. Canada is the number one investor in the Dominican Republic and the third most important trade partner of the country, following USA and Haiti. At present, the Dominican Republic is Canada’s 7th largest trading partner in the Americas. Dominican exports to Canada are driven mostly by the mining sector, followed by electrical components, medical devices, vegetables and fruits, apparel and cocoa products. The Caribbean country benefits from the condition of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) under Canada’s tariff schedule, and many Dominican products may be imported into Canada under very low or zero tariffs. Canada launched free trade negotiations with the Dominican Republic on June 7, 2007 and negotiations are still ongoing. In addition to economic relations, both countries share the same values and principles of democracy, human rights, and free-market policies, coupled with social responsibility. It is also interesting to note that Canadians make up the second largest group of tourists visiting the Dominican Republic, and the country is among the five most visited countries of Canadians, outside of the United States.

The Dominican Republic’s economy is based on four main pillars: tourism, free zone manufacturing, remittances and mining. In terms of free trade manufacturing, the Dominican Republic principally exports goods such as textiles, electronic products, jewellery, tobacco and pharmaceuticals. In recent years, the service sector has overtaken more traditional industries of cocoa, sugar, coffee and tobacco. Growth in telecommunications, tourism and free trade zones have turned the service sector into the country’s largest employer.
Electrical Machinery

Manufactured electrical components are the DR’s second largest export to Canada, in particular automated circuit breakers for a voltage <=1.000 V (HS 853620), which resulted in an export value of $27 million CAD in 2015. This is followed by boards for electrical control of circuits (HS 853710) which accounts for $7.9 million CAD; and switches for voltage (HS 853650) which accounts for $7.8 million CAD. Canada is the destination for 8.8% of DR’s electrical machinery exports and about 1.1% of all of Canada’s imports of electrical machinery.

Medical Equipment

The DR’s third largest export to Canada is medical equipment, exporting a value of $50 million CAD in goods in 2015. More specifically, it is surgical and medical instruments (HS 901890), needles and catheters (HS 901839), and electro-diagnostic apparatus for functional exploratory examination (HS 901819).

Emerging Sector: ICT

ICT is a sector in which the DR government is focusing on developing. Initially, the DR’s ICT sector was developing at a great pace, from the 1990’s to about 2010, where it made up 15% of the DR’s economy. The Canadian government is carrying out a ICT mission in the DR from October 31st to November 4th, 2016, bringing Canadian companies to meet with decision-makers in public and private institutions. The World Bank is also spearheading a programme to advance the DR’s ICT capabilities, by investing $25 million USD in developing the regional connectivity to the internet, another $3.5 million USD on setting up an innovation hub, and another $1.45 million on project support.

TFO Export Offers

TFO Canada provides an information service for Canadian importers interested in sourcing products from developing and emerging economies such as Dominican Republic. This includes practical advice on sourcing from developing country exporters, a customized news bulletin including new leads from the Dominican Republic as they come in, and a searchable database for sourcing new products and suppliers. The chart below provides a rough idea of the number of Dominican supplier profiles, available online with contact information through TFO Canada’s searchable Supplier Database.

Industry Group No. of Suppliers in TFO Database
Food Products and Beverages (including Seafood) 26
Personal Care, Pharmaceuticals and Natural Health Products 4
Fashion Accessories 1
Dominican Republic Producers Exporter Mission to Toronto took place at the end of September 2016. This mission was organized in association with Export and Investment Center of Dominican Republic (CEI-RD), Dominican Exporters Association (ADOEXPO) and Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce (CAMARA SANTO DOMINGO) and the special collaboration of Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD) and Caribbean Export Development Agency. TFO Canada and Seven export-ready companies of the fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) sector participated in a market familiarization tour and business to business meetings with Toronto-based buyers.  A number of products that stood out for Canadian buyers were Dragonfruit and Oriental vegetables e.g. Chinese broccoli to name a few.

Upcoming Trade Shows

Santo Domingo
May 18-20, 2017
Food and Agriculture

Contact Information

Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada
130 Albert Street, Suite 418 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4 Canada
Tel: (613) 569-9893

Useful Links

Chamber of Commerce Dominico Canadiense
Centro de Inversiones y Exportaciones de la Republica Dominicana (CEI-RD)
Federación Dominicana de Camaras de Comercio (FEDOCAMARAS)
Camara de Comercio y Produccion Santo Domingo

Links to Cited Documents

Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA World Factbook
Global Affairs Canada – Foreign Relations
Global Affairs Canada – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles
Innovation, science and Economic Development Canada – Trade Data Online
International Trade Centre – Trade Map
Transparency International – Corruption Perception Index
World Bank – Doing Business Report
World Bank – Open Data