Exporting guide to Dominican Republic

Overview

The Dominican Republic has one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the Caribbean and Central American regions. Tourism, free trade zones and improved telecommunications are the main drivers of its growth.

Strong, stable economy

The Dominican Republic is the largest market in the Caribbean and Central America. The currency and the political and economic environments are stable.

Good match for UK exports

The country has an open economy with a strong appetite for imported goods and technology, and a growing recognition of UK brands and service offerings in areas such as education.

A view of the coastline in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic: at a glance

Currency

Dominican peso

Business language

Spanish

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$8,986

Actual figure (IMF, 2021). The UK is $47,203 (IMF, 2021, projected figure).

Economic growth

12.3%

(IMF, 2021)

Time zone

GMT -4

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in the Dominican Republic have identified opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in the Dominican Republic

Preparing to export

You’re advised to seek good legal advice from an English-speaking lawyer before exporting to the Dominican Republic.

Taxation

Taxes are collected by the General Directorate of Internal Revenue (website in Spanish). Tax rates and mandatory contributions are the same for both Dominican and foreign investors. If you are an employer, you must pay social security for your employees.

VAT

If you are registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to the Dominican Republic, provided certain conditions are met.

VAT (known as ITBIS) is charged at 18%. Goods and services which are exempt from ITBIS include basic foods, medicines, fuel, and books.

Regulations

The Dominican Quality Institute (INDOCAL) (website in Spanish) enforces mandatory product safety and information standards and bans on unsafe goods.

Selective consumption taxes (ISC)

ISC (impuesto selectivo al consumo) is applied on the purchase price or import of certain goods including alcohol and cigarettes. The rate of ISC tax varies according to the item being taxed.

Free trade zones

Free zone operators and companies located in industrial parks enjoy 100% exemption from various taxes. There are currently 53 industrial parks, housing over 500 companies.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with the Dominican Republic.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in the Dominican Republic

Intellectual property

The National Industrial Property Office (ONAPI) (website in Spanish) is in charge of granting patents and registering industrial property. Civil and criminal sanctions may be applied in case of an infraction of industrial property rights.

There is currently a problem in the Dominican Republic with counterfeit products, especially alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals. The Attorney General’s Department is taking action but it is proving difficult to reduce the scale of the problem.

Payment terms

The most common methods of payment are:

  • cash (as most Dominican companies have dollar accounts abroad) by electronic or wire transfers
  • supplier credit, once you’ve established a trading relationship
  • documentary letters of credit including stand-by letters of credit
  • documentary collections through the banking system
  • commercial credit cards (accept these with caution because of the possibility of fraud)

Using agents and distributors

To export successfully to the Dominican Republic, you will probably need to employ an agent or distributor. In some cases where health certification is required, a local agent is a legal requirement.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.