That dollar amount results from a 31.9% increase from $9.4 billion five years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, the total value of goods exported from the Dominican Republic rose 4.7% compared to $11.8 billion during 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Dominican peso depreciated by -11.4% against the US dollar since 2018 but appreciated by 3.6% from 2021 to 2022. The Dominican Republic’s weaker local currency since 2018 makes exports from the Dominican Republic paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
By value, the Dominican Republic’s top 3 most valuable export products are electro-medical equipment including xrays, unwrought gold, then the cigars or cigarettes product category. Added together, that trio of major exports account for almost one-third (30.4%) of the Caribbean island’s overall shipments in 2022.
Dominican Republic’s Top Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 88.1% of products exported from Dominican Republic was bought by importers in: United States of America (56% of the Dominican Republic’s total), Haiti (8.4%), Switzerland (8.4%), Netherlands (3.6%), India (2.8%), mainland China (2.5%), South Korea (1.7%), Italy (1.1%), Germany (1.1%), Belgium (1%), Canada (0.9%) and Jamaica (0.8%).
From a continental perspective, 57.3% of the Dominican Republic’s exports by value was delivered to North American countries while 18.1% was sold to importers in Europe. The Dominican Republic shipped another 15.4% worth of goods to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Smaller percentages went to buyers in Asia (8.9%), Oceania (0.2%) mostly Australia and New Zealand, then Africa (0.1%).
Given the Dominican Republic’s population of 10.63 million people, its total $12.4 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $1,170 for every resident in the Caribbean nation–the third largest populated country in the Caribbean. That dollar metric exceeds the average 1,120 per capita one year earlier for 2021.
Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.
- Gems, precious metals: US$2.1 billion (17.1% of total exports)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.4 billion (11.5%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $1.23 billion (9.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.21 billion (9.8%)
- Iron, steel: $786 million (6.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $703.7 million (5.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $545.4 million (4.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $485.4 million (3.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $380.2 million (3.1%)
- Footwear: $227.2 million (1.8%)
The Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (73.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Plastics both as materials and items made from plastic represent the fastest grower among the country’s top 10 export categories, up by 28.9% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales were the metals iron and steel via a 22.5% advance.
The Dominican Republic’s shipments of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 22.3%.
The severest decliner among the Dominican Republic’s top 10 export categories was gems and precious metals, pulled down by a -17.1% year-over-year reduction. That product category experienced lower international sales of gold and jewelry exported from the Dominican Republic.
The product groups listed above are at the four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level.
Drilling down to the more detailed four-digit HTS codes, the Dominican Republic’s most valuable exported product in 2022 was electro-medical equipment including xrays (11.13% of the country’s global total). In second place was unwrought gold (11.12%) trailed by cigars and cigarettes (8.2%), lower-voltage switches or fuses (6.8%), jewelry (5.3%), iron ferroalloys (4.3%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (3.3%), sutures and special pharmaceutical goods (3.1%), bananas and plantains (1.9%), then cocoa beans (1.7%).
Products Generating Dominican Republic’s Best Trade Surpluses
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$1.6 billion (Down by -3.4% since 2021)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.1 billion (Up by 25.1%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $628.6 million (Down by -16.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $399 million (Up by 20.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $260.6 million (Up by 2.1%)
- Cocoa: $185.9 million (Up by 2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $97.6 million (Up by 30.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $54.2 million (Up by 4.7%)
- Footwear: $44.5 million (Down by -15.5%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: $32.4 million (Up by 454%)
The Dominican Republic has notably 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.
Products Causing Dominican Republic’s Largest Trade Deficits
The Dominican Republic racked up an overall -US$17.6 billion trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 16.5% from the -$15.1 billion in red ink one year earlier during 2021.
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$4.3 billion (Up by 5.2% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$2.4 billion (Up by 19.5%)
- Vehicles: -$2.3 billion (Up by 19.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.8 billion (Up by 13.9%)
- Cereals: -$795.8 million (Up by 20.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$795.8 million (Up by 33.9%)
- Paper, paper items: -$712.2 million (Up by 20.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$571.8 million (Up by 43.8%)
- Meat: -$530.4 million (Up by 51%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$448.6 million (Down by -21.8%)
The Dominican Republic incurred highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category. Red ink flowed most intensely for petroleum gases, refined petroleum oils, crude oil and coal.
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 4.8% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($256.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 4.8% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 5.2% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing 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 unemployment rate averaged 6.442% for 2022, down from an average 7.351% in 2021 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Dominican Republic’s capital city is Santo Domingo, officially named Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
See also Honduras Top 10 Exports, Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, El Salvador’s Top 10 Exports and Panama’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on June 14, 2023
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 14, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 14, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 14, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 14, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 14, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 14, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on June 14, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 14, 2023