That dollar amount reflects a 15.7% increase from $10.2 billion in 2017.
Year over year, the total value of exported goods accelerated by 20.1% compared to $9.8 billion during 2020.
By value, the Dominican Republic’s top 3 most valuable export products are unwrought gold, electro-medical equipment including xrays, and cigars or cigarettes. Added together, that trio of major exports account for more than one-third (33.8%) of the Caribbean island’s overall shipments in 2021.
Dominican Republic’s Top Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 89.1% of products exported from Dominican Republic were bought by importers in: the United States of America (55.3% of the global total), Switzerland (8.1%), Haiti (8.1%), India (6.3%), Netherlands (3.5%), mainland China (2.5%), Jamaica (1.03%), Germany (0.98%), Belgium (0.9%), Italy (0.8%), Panama (0.74%) and United Kingdom (0.73%).
From a continental perspective, well over half (56.2%) of the Dominican Republic’s exports by value was delivered to North American countries while 17.6% was sold to importers in Europe. The Dominican Republic shipped another 14.8% worth of goods to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Smaller percentages went to Asia (11.2%), Oceania (0.16%) mostly Australia and New Zealand, and Africa (0.11%).
Given the Dominican Republic’s population of 10.54 million people, its total $11.8 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $1,120 for every resident in the Caribbean nation–the third largest populated country in the Caribbean. That dollar metric outpaces the average $950 per capita one year earlier for 2020.
Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dominican global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Dominican Republic.
- Gems, precious metals: US$2.6 billion (21.6% of total exports)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $1.24 billion (10.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.19 billion (10.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.118 billion (10%)
- Iron, steel: $641.6 million (5.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $546 million (4.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $461.4 million (3.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $446 million (3.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $371 million (3.1%)
- Cocoa: $218.2 million (1.8%)
Dominican Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for about three-quarters (74.8%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
The metals iron and steel represent the fastest growers among the Dominican Republic’s top 10 export categories, up by 41.9% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a 38.1% advance.
Dominican Republic’s shipments of plastics, both as materials plus articles made from plastic, posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 37%.
The lone decliner among Dominican Republic’s top 10 export categories was pharmaceuticals thanks to its -1.6% year-over-year reduction.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Dominican Republic’s most valuable exported good in 2021 was unwrought gold (15.5% of the country’s global total). In second place was electro-medical equipment including xrays (9.4%) trailed by cigars and cigarettes (8.9%), lower-voltage switches or fuses (6.7%), jewelry (5.1%), iron ferroalloys (3.7%), sutures and special pharmaceutical goods (3.2%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (2.9%), bananas and plantains (1.9%), then phone system devices including smartphones (1.8%).
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$1.7 billion (Down by -1% since 2020)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $884.5 million (Up by 13.7%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $756.7 million (Up by 50.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $331.4 million (Up by 32.7%)
- Fruits, nuts: $255.2 million (Down by -8.3%)
- Cocoa: $182.2 million (Up by 9.2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $74.8 million (Down by -11.9%)
- Footwear: $52.7 million (Down by -49.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $51.8 million (Up by 156.3%)
- Woodpulp: $6.3 million (Up by 18%)
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 -$15.1 billion trade deficit for 2021, expanding by 73.9% from the -$8.7 billion in red ink during 2020.
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$4.1 billion (Up by 81.4% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$2 billion (Up by 25.1%)
- Vehicles: -$1.9 billion (Up by 50.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.6 billion (Up by 48.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$808 million (Up by 251%)
- Cereals: -$660.5 million (Up by 57.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$594.4 million (Up by 64.1%)
- Paper, paper items: -$590.6 million (Up by 39.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$573.3 million (Up by 76.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$397.7 million (Up by 871%)
The Dominican Republic incurred highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category. Red ink expanded most intensely for processed 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 5.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($227.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 4.7% for 2020. Those percentages 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 unemployment rate averaged 7.351% for 2021, up from an average 5.829% in 2020 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 August 14, 2022
Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 14, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 14, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 14, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 14, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Dominican Republic. Accessed on August 14, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 14, 2022