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What are Dominican Republic main exports and imports?

Updated on 22 Sep 2023
5 min read
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The Dominican Republic is considered by many the jewel of the Caribbean, and for good reason. The country is neighbors with Haiti which lies to the West side of the Island of Hipsaniola which both countries share.

Dominican Republic is a beautiful amalgamation of Savannah, rainforests and highlands offering the best of all these worlds to tourist who flock there for the beaches and exceptional golf courses.

But, beautiful resorts aren’t the only things the country is known for. The Dominican Republic is the the leading exporter of several agricultural and manufactured products. All the activity of its ports is under the supervision of the official port authority of Dominican Republic.

Main Exports from Dominican Republic

1. Cocoa Beans

The country produces two varieties of cocoa beans: the Hispaniola and the Sanchez. The Hispaniola’s only make up 4% of the country’s export of cocoa beans. The remaining 96% is taken up by the Sanchez variety. In the recent years cocoa beans from the nation have become as valued as the prized cocoa beans from Ecuador. The coca variety from Ecuador is known as the Nacional and Dominican beans are being hailed as the new Nacional.

The country aims to triple their yields by 2027. According to the International cocoa organization (ICCO), 40% of the cocoa sourced from Dominican Republic is fine flavor which means it has woody, herbal, caramelic notes that make it rich and balanced.

Dominican Republic is the ninth largest exporter of cocoa beans worldwide. Although it has always exported this product, in the 90s the United States was its only market. Now it has expanded it market and now exports 90% of its production annually which comes to about 60,000 metric tones of cocoa beans. This goes to Japan and the European Union markets among others.


2. Manufactured products

From garments to, optical and technical apparatus as well as medical devices exports the country was able to reach over $5 billion in exports in 2018. The leading export products in their manufactured shipments were the medical and optical devices. It has a steady increase as the demand for such equipment is constantly on the increase.

Also their machinery and equipment exports did very well posting the third largest gain for the country. The top export partners for these products is the United States, India, Haiti, Canada and Germany.

3. Jewelry

Gold has been a go-to export for the Dominican Republic which is well endowed with gold and other gem stones. The country’s mineral wealth also sees it export silver and nickel not to mention some copper. Larimar is only found in the Dominican Republic and it is essential in the creation of jewelry which is why the country is a leading exporter of jewelry.

With the rise of gold demand in the last decade the country has benefitted immensely from their intensive development of the mining industry. They have the single largest gold mine in Latin America at the Pueblo Viejo mine and although there is a decline in gold production in the country, they a still have a large enough reserve that continues to sustain their export partners.

The Dominican Republic also has extremely large deposits of gypsum and that’s why they are prominent players in the cement industry.

Main Imports

1. Petroleum

The DR imports both crude and refined petroleum because their economy depends largely on manufacturing and mining. Both of these are oil intensive activities that require a consistent supply of oil to keep the industries functioning.

Refined oil leads their petroleum import number making up 10% of the overall imports into the country. They import their oil from countries like Venezuela and Mexico. The country utilizes an estimated 37 thousand barrels per day of petroleum.

2. Cars

Cars are the second largest import into the Dominican Republic with the United States providing the lion’s share of the cars in the Dominican Republic market. In 2017 the United States exported cars worth $378 million into the country. That was almost 50% of the nation’s car imports.

South Korea is another huge player in exporting cars into the Latin American country. In the same year they exported cars worth roughly 150 million dollars. Other players with a stake in the market include Japan which reached $142 million with their exports into the DR in 2017, as Germany and Sweden, Canada, Mexico, India, Chile and the United Kingdom.

The United States led the pack for exporting small passenger cars while Mexico led the pack for exporting heavy duty construction and agriculture vehicles.

3. Industrial raw materials

Importing raw materials into the Dominican Republic is cheaper than importing finished products. The law tends to favor raw materials meaning they char lower import duty on such products. The country’s main raw materials import partners include Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, United States, Argentina and several countries in the East Pacific and Asia.



With billions of dollar in import and exports exchanging hands in the Dominican Republic, the country has become the eighth largest economy within Latin America. 60% of the country’s imports sustain the economy and livelihood of the local people. The nation is an upper middle-income economy sustained by trading and mining, so importing and exporting play a crucial role in sustaining the country’s GDP.

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