International Trade Agreements

The Dominican Republic has joined the most significant international trade agreements as part of a key strategy to position themselves among the top three growing economies of Latin America. According to the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, the country has experienced a GDP growth of 6.7% from January to June of 2018 in comparison to the same term in 2017.  

There are many strategic engines generating economic growth in the country. Developing and incentivizing the free trade zone is a key engine driving growth calling for all goods to be sold to other countries. Below you will find more details and information on trade agreements and their role in the Dominican Republic.  

The Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) is a free trade agreement that promotes stability, prosperity and investment between the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. CAFTA’s purpose is to expand and diversify trade and increase investment opportunities among country members by ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights and creating a business trade framework.  

This trade agreement is an essential tool for the development of the economy in the Dominican Republic and strengthening of its commercial relations. It has consolidated tariff preferences for Dominican exports to the US market and led the Dominican government to transform the structure of its institutions modifying commercial and legal framework. DR-CAFTA opens the market, reduces barriers of services, promotes competition, and protects intellectual property rights.  

DR-CATFA is an important tool for foreign investors. The agreement clearly states that equal conditions, treatment, and rights are to be given to both national and foreign investors in the countries in the agreement.  When registered in due time, the DR-CAFTA demands protection regarding copyright, industrial property, and intellectual property of each individual. The agreement also specifies that any native of a member country has the right to patent their own investments and discoveries protected by the law of the member country as a national investor.  

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU)  and Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), an organization of Caribbean nations including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic. The EPA focuses on financial and investment opportunities allowing for duty free access to Caribbean products to the 28 countries that make up the EU. The EPA provides economic assistance to Caribbean countries by promoting regional integration, reducing poverty, and encouraging involvement in the world economy. The Dominican Republic entered the EPA in October of 2008.  

Under the EPA, access to markets is asymmetrical, protecting less developed nations from being swallowed by trade with the EU. Exports from Caribbean countries to the 28 countries in the EU are generous for eligible products while provisions for similar imports from the EU to the Caribbean are subject to restrictions of up to 25 years with safeguards in place. These safeguards protect local employment and sensitive industries in the Caribbean nations.  

The EPA, together with the DR-CAFTA, offers international investors and local producers in the Dominican Republic unprecedented free trade access to two of the largest markets in the world, the European Union and the United States.  

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organization composed Caribbean nations with the objective of promoting economic integration and cooperation between country members. Signed in 1998 and ratified by the Dominican Republic in 2001, this agreement establishes free trade zones in the region abiding by the World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines. Trade between the Dominican Republic and the more developed Caribbean nations occurs equally and on a reciprocal basis while it is differentiated between the less developed nations such as Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Haiti.  

The free trade agreement between the Dominican Republic and CARICOM coexists with the EPA.   

A free trade agreement between the Dominican Republic and the Central American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras was signed in 1998 and ratified in 2001. This agreement allows for the free trade of all products originating in each region with the exception of a registered list.

Signed in 1985, the Free Trade Agreement with Panama came into effect in 2003. This agreement provides benefits for the liberalized trade of certain products.  

  1. Products that have free access to the markets of both countries (two-way products).
  2. Dominican products that can be freely exported to Panama
  3. Panamanian products that can be freely exported to the Dominican Republic
  4. Products manufactured in free trade zones

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