Dominican Republic - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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U.S. products and services enjoy a strong reputation for quality and are highly competitive, due in part to CAFTA-DR. Consumer attitudes and brand preferences are similar to those in the United States, and many major U.S. franchises are present in the country. Television shows from the United States and other media are widely available and popular. Dominicans travel frequently to the United States for business, vacation, medical treatment, study, or to visit family.

As a signatory of CAFTA-DR, the country stands to benefit from the issuance of licenses to import U.S. shale gas in liquefied (LNG) or compressed form.  Access to this energy continues to help diversify its energy grid. The private sector in the DR is leading the transition to greater use of natural gas, and increasingly renewables, in power generation.

Whether in traditional or renewable energy, there are opportunities for U.S. operators and suppliers in the construction or conversion of power generating facilities.  President Abinader has pledged that by 2030, 25 percent of energy generation in the DR will be from renewable sources. The GODR’s efforts to encourage the generation of clean and renewable energy include generous tax incentives for investors in the sector but do not include commitments to purchase the electricity produced. While the new fiscal reforms reduced tax incentives for producers of renewable energy, the medium to long-term prospects for renewable energy products and services are promising.

The DR’s membership in CAFTA-DR as well as its participation in the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD) have the potential to accelerate manufacturing in the DR’s numerous FTZs and allow the country to compete more effectively against products from China and Southeast Asia. The DR’s strategic geographic location, competitive labor costs, modern shipping and port infrastructure, and FTZs all bode well for continued growth, particularly as China and other countries’ labor and transportation costs increase.  Additionally, President Abinader has publicly stated that Chinese investment will not be allowed into critical infrastructure.  Image removed.

In early 2022, the Abinader administration formally submitted a bill to Congress to substantially modify the current public procurement law that remains unpassed as of late 2023. The DR awarded its first public-private partnership tender in 2023, an important advancement stemming from a 2020 law that created an alternative to the public procurement process driven by private sector proposals. While the full implementation of these commitments remains incomplete, the U.S. Embassy is encouraged by the DR’s ongoing push to implement international best practices of transparency and competition in procurement.  Should these efforts be successful, U.S. companies may be more competitive locally and see increased opportunities in the local market.

The DR is the number one tourist destination in the Caribbean. A record 8.3 million tourists visited the country in 2022, 25 percent of whom were from the United States. Consequently, the hotel, bar, and restaurant sector grew 24 percent in 2022, helped by significant tax incentives for tourism development.  This sector presents a dynamic and growing opportunity for U.S. exporters in a range of industries (i.e., construction, hotel & restaurant equipment, agricultural products, etc.) that are necessary to support and grow the DR’s tourism sector.

Since 2016, over 97 percent of the goods entering the country from CAFTA-DR countries enter with no tariff.  In virtually all industry sectors, CAFTA-DR gives significant advantages to U.S. exporters over non-CAFTA competitors.

Leading industry sectors for U.S. exports include the following: air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; automobile parts and services; building products; hotel and restaurant equipment; medical equipment; printing and graphic art equipment and supplies; renewable energy; safety and security equipment and supplies; and telecommunication equipment. In addition, the DR is the sixteenth largest destination for U.S. agricultural products in the world, importing $2.2 billion in 2022.