A sovereign state sharing its northern coast with the North Atlantic Ocean and its southern shores overlapping the Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic shipped US$10.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 23.1% increase since 2015 and a 9.9% upturn from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 89.9% of products exported from Dominican Republic were bought by importers in: United States (55.5% of the global total), Haiti (9.3%), India (7.2%), Canada (6.8%), Netherlands (2.7%), China (1.6%), Switzerland (also 1.6%), Spain (1.3%), United Kingdom (1.1%), Germany (1%), Italy (0.9%) and Jamaica (0.8%).
From a continental perspective, 62.7% of Dominican Republic’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 15.1% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Dominican Republic shipped another 10.8% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to Europe (10.5%), Africa (0.3%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.1%).
Given Dominican Republic’s population of 10.4 million people, its total $10.3 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,000 for every resident in the Caribbean nation–the third largest populated country in the Caribbean.
Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.
- Gems, precious metals: US$1.9 billion (18.8% of total exports)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.6 billion (15.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1 billion (10.1%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $907.2 million (8.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $599 million (5.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $557 million (5.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $432.2 million (4.2%)
- Iron, steel: $408.9 million (4%)
- Footwear: $335 million (3.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $271.1 million (2.6%)
The Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for 78.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fruits and nuts represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 89.4% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was optical, technical or medical apparatus via a 67% gain. Dominican Republic’s shipments of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories: posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 22.4%.
The leading decliner among Dominican Republic’s top 10 export categories was plastics including articles made from plastic, thanks to a -20.2% annual drop.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Dominican Republic’s most valuable exported good was gold (15.9% of its global total). In second place is electro-medical equipment including xrays (13.9%) trailed by cigars and cigarellos (8%), lower-voltage switches or fuses (7.9%), bananas and plantains (4.2%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (3.5%), sutures and special pharmaceutical goods (3.1%), iron ferroalloys (3%), leather footwear (2.4%) and jewelry (2.3%).
The following types of Dominican product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Gems, precious metals: US$1.3 billion (Down by -1.2% since 2018)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1 billion (Up by 66.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $615.1 million (Up by 20.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $537.6 million (Up by 124.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $469.9 million (Up by 40.2%)
- Footwear: $217 million (Up by 75.4%)
- Cocoa: $205.3 million (Up by 9.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $161.7 million (Reversing a -$214.5 million deficit)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $158.4 million (Up by 869.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $152 million (Up by 133.6%)
The Dominican Republic has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Dominican Republic’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals product category.
The Dominican Republic racked up an overall -$7.5 billion trade deficit for 2019, down by -41.4% from the -$12.8 billion in red ink during the prior year.
Below are exports from the Dominican Republic that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Dominican Republic’s goods trail Dominican importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$2.9 billion (Down by -30.4% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.5 billion (Down by -13.3%)
- Vehicles: -$1.3 billion (Down by -13%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$706.3 million (Down by -39.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$555.3 million (Down by -34.1%)
- Cereals: -$403.9 million (Down by -5.2%)
- Paper, paper items: -$334.2 million (Down by -34.2%)
- Cotton: -$303.7 million (Up by 0.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$279.2 million (Down by -29.2%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$235.8 million (Up by 1.7%)
Dominican Republic has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category. Red ink expanded most intensely for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases and crude petroleum oil.
Dominican Export Companies
Not one Dominican corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from the Dominican Republic. Selected examples are shown below.
- Barceló Export Import (alcoholic beverages)
- Brugal & Cía. (alcoholic beverages)
- Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (brewery)
- Cervecería Vegana (brewery)
- Grupo Corripio (conglomerate)
- Grupo León Jimenes (brewery)
- Industrias Nacionales (construction materials)
- J. Armando Bermúdez & Co. (alcoholic beverages)
- MATASA (cigars)
- Servicios Aéreos Profesionales (airliner)
In macroeconomic terms, Dominican Republic’s total exported goods represent 5.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($201.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 5% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Dominican Republic’s total economic performance albeit based on a relatively short time period.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Dominican Republic’s average unemployment rate was 5.5% for 2019 down from 5.656% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Dominican Republic’s capital city is Santo Domingo, officially named Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
See also Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports and El Salvador’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on June 17, 2020
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 17, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 17, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 17, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 17, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 17, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on June 17, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 17, 2020