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$9.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -4.5% drop since 2014 but a 7.1% upturn from 2017 to 2018.
The latest available country-specific data for 2017 shows that 89% of products exported from the Dominican Republic were bought by importers in: United States (53.3% of the global total), Haiti (9.6%), Canada (8.9%), India (6.5%), Switzerland (2.8%), Netherlands (2%), United Kingdom (1.2%), Belgium (1%), Germany (1%), Spain (1%), China (1%) and Italy (0.7%).
From a continental perspective, 58.3% of Dominican Republic exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 14.6% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Dominican Republic shipped another 10.3% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Asia (9.6%), Africa (0.2%) then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Dominican Republic’s population of 10.3 million people, its total $9.5 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $920 for every resident in the Caribbean nation–the third largest populated country in the Caribbean.
In macroeconomic terms, Dominican Republic’s total exported goods represent 5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($189.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 6.8% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Dominican Republic’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Dominican Republic also provided $9.3 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 4.9% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Dominican Republic’s unemployment rate was 5.8% at March 2019 up from 5.3% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.
- Gems, precious metals: US$1.6 billion (16.6% of total exports)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.5 billion (15.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1 billion (10.6%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $859.6 million (9.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $560.6 million (5.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $491.4 million (5.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $375.3 million (4%)
- Footwear: $328.4 million (3.5%)
- Iron, steel: $321.7 million (3.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $266.2 million (2.8%)
Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for more than three-quarters (76.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fruits and nuts represent the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 65.6% since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was the optical, technical and medical apparatus category, thanks to a 50.7% increase.
Dominican Republic’s shipments of electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 37.3%.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Dominican Republic export categories was gems and precious metals via a -20.1% dip year over year. Gold and jewelry were mainly responsible for the category’s dwindling surplus.
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 billion (Down by -27.3% since 2017)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $981.9 million (Up by 43.3%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $589.1 million (Up by 10%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $477.7 million (Up by 51.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $425.3 million (Up by 91.9%)
- Footwear: $208.8 million (Up by 34.9%)
- Cocoa: $194.8 million (Up by 68.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $177.6 million (Up by 274.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $106.7 million (Reversing a -$171 million deficit)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $85.9 million (Up by 31.7%)
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 the Dominican Republic racked up a -$7.9 billion trade deficit for 2018, down by -25.6% from the -$10.7 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$2.5 billion (Down by -22.4% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.4 billion (Up by 2.5%)
- Vehicles: -$1.3 billion (Down by -9.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$801.9 million (Down by -28.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$596.4 million (Down by -35.6%)
- Cereals: -$388.8 million (Down by -4%)
- Paper, paper items: -$368.2 million (Down by -21.4%)
- Cotton: -$332.3 million (Up by 17.5%)
- Iron, steel: -$310.3 million (Up by 51.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$258.9 million (Down by -25.9%)
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 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)
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
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 24, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 9, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. 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 July 9, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 9, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on June 24, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 9, 2019