Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports

Dominican Republic flag


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$8.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016.

The above dollar amount results from a 103.7% gain since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and a 6.3% improvement from 2015 to 2016. Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for four-fifths (80.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Dominican Republic’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $174.2 billion as of April 2017 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent an estimated 5.1% of total Dominican economic output.

Using 2015 data, 62.4% of Dominican exports by value were delivered to North American countries (mostly the United States) while 18.3% were sold to importers in Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean. Dominican Republic shipped another 9.5% worth of goods to Asia with 9.3% going to Europe.

Given Dominican Republic’s population of 10.6 million people, its total $8.9 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $850 for every resident in that country.

Trading Economics projects the Dominican Republic’s unemployment rate to be 13.7% as of May 2017.

Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$1.9 billion (21.8% of total exports)
  2. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.4 billion (15.8%)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $753.8 million (8.5%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $662.9 million (7.4%)
  5. Fruits, nuts: $555.1 million (6.2%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $541.7 million (6.1%)
  7. Footwear: $417.9 million (4.7%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $313.9 million (3.5%)
  9. Cocoa: $302.3 million (3.4%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: $286 million (3.2%)

Gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 741.9% for the 7-year period starting in 2009 led by Dominican shipments of gold.

In second place for improving export sales was pharmaceuticals which rose by 703.1%.

Knit or crochet clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 317.9%. Fruits and nuts appreciated by 277.3% thanks in large part to exported bananas and avocados.

The sole decliner among the top 10 Dominican export categories was unknit and non-crocheted clothing and accessories which retreated -15.7%.


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 is 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.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$1.5 billion (Down by -4,514% since 2009)
  2. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $882.7 million (Up by 78.9%)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $527 million (Up by 598.4%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $498.1 million (Up by 326.1%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $465.9 million (Up by 1,033%)
  6. Footwear: $282.1 million (Up by 1,270%)
  7. Cocoa: $280.5 million (Up by 94.7%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $228.9 million (Down by -18.3%)
  9. Ores, slag, ash: $59.8 million (Down by -17,048%)
  10. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $55.3 million (Down by -289.6%)

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.


Overall, Dominican Republic incurred a -$6.5 billion trade deficit for 2016 down by -14.8% from -$7.7 billion during 2009.

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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.9 billion (Down by -24.7% since 2009)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$1.5 billion (Up by 70.9%)
  3. Vehicles : -$1.3 billion (Up by 108.2%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$713.6 million (Down by -2.2%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: -$668.1 million (Up by 63.8%)
  6. Cereals: -$338.2 million (Up by 13.8%)
  7. Paper, paper items: -$315.9 million (Up by 38%)
  8. Cotton: -$285 million (Up by 4,532%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: -$269.3 million (Up by 27.4%)
  10. Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$259.9 million (Up by 1,009%)

Dominican Republic has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category–particularly for refined petroleum oils.


Dominican Export Companies

Not one Dominican corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.

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)

Dominican Republic’s capital city is Santo Domingo.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Bananas Exports by Country, Guatemala’s Top Trading Partners and Capital Facts for Santo Domingo

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 2, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 2, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 2, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 2, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on May 2, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 2, 2017