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$9.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a 14.1% gain since 2013 and a 3.9% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, the Dominican Republic’s exported goods plus services represent 25.8% of total Dominican economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Using calculations based on 2016 data, 61.5% of Dominican exports by value were delivered to North American countries (mostly the United States) while 14.6% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic shipped another 13.5% worth of goods to Europe with 9.6% going to Asia.

Given Dominican Republic’s population of 10.7 million people, its total $9.1 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $850 for every resident in the Caribbean nation–the third largest population in the Caribbean.

Trading Economics projects the Dominican Republic’s unemployment rate to be 5% as of June 2018.

Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$1.6 billion (17.8% of total exports)
  2. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.5 billion (16.1%)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $820.9 million (9%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $733.8 million (8.1%)
  5. Fruits, nuts: $516.2 million (5.7%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $511.3 million (5.6%)
  7. Footwear: $375.2 million (4.1%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: $325.5 million (3.6%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $279.3 million (3.1%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: $270.2 million (3%)

Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for more than three-quarters (76%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Fruits and nuts was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 57.6% from 2016 to 2017 thanks in large part to higher international sales of bananas and avocados.

In second place for improving Dominican exports was optical, technical and medical apparatus which rose by 31.7%.

Electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 21.9%.

Two decliners among the top 10 Dominican export categories was gems and precious metals (down -21.2%) then plastics and plastic articles (down -6.6%).


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.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$1.1 billion (Down by -31.5% since 2016)
  2. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $973.7 million (Up by 24.5%)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $581.8 million (Up by 21.2%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $461 million (Up by 73.1%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $431.7 million (Up by 24.4%)
  6. Footwear: $256.6 million (Up by 27%)
  7. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $187.7 million (Up by 82.7%)
  8. Cocoa: $164.6 million (Down by -23%)
  9. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $66.9 million (Up by 496.7%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: $64.4 million (Reversing a -$279.9 million deficit)

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 2017 down by -28.1% from -$9 billion 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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$2.1 billion (Down by -12.7% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$1.3 billion (Down by -25.9%)
  3. Vehicles: -$1.1 billion (Down by -19.2%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: -$649.1 million (Down by -36.3%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$595.7 million (Down by -33.2%)
  6. Cereals: -$359.2 million (Up by 6.7%)
  7. Paper, paper items: -$321.1 million (Down by -17.9%)
  8. Cotton: -$297.1 million (Up by 8.7%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: -$225.1 million (Down by -46.1%)
  10. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$211.4 million (Up by 27.6%)

Dominican Republic has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category. This is particularly true for the country’s red ink for refined oils, petroleum gases and crude 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)

Dominican Republic’s capital city is Santo Domingo, officially named Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

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 June 24, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 24, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 24, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 24, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on June 24, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 24, 2018