Trade and Investment Overview
The Dominican Republic, an independent Nation of Spanish heritage, located in the Caribbean, is the second largest of the caribbean nations, with a 7.3 million population.
The country's economy has been traditionally built on agriculture with its most important agricultural region in the central Cibao Valley, with sugar holding a preeminent position, followed by coffee, tobacco and cacao. Over the past decade other products have grown in importance : green vegetables, pineapples and cut flowers.
Mining is also a highly significant activity. Gold and silver mine in Pueblo Viejo is the world's largest open-pit gold mine, and there are some exploring for petroleum all along the southern coast of the country.
The Dominican Republic is part of a number of trade and commercial alliances such as:
- The Caribbean Basin Initiative, the basic trading relationship with the United States, and
- The GATT, which provides rules on intellectual property rights, professional services, general tariff levels and freedom of capital flows.
This has situated the Dominican Republic in the 31st. position of countries exporting to the United States, and has given the country the privilege to serve Europen markets accessing them tax free, permitting an important development of products.
The Dominican economy has been engaged in a dynamic and fast-paced reform in the 90's, with the free zones (geographical areas of the country, bordered by unbreachable fences or walls, subject to special customs and tax controls established by law, in which it is allowed to install companies dedicating their production or services to the foreign markets, via the granting of the incentives necessary for promoting development) the brightest spot after tourism.
Industrial free zones granted duty free passage of raw materials and finished products, and are geared for export under the benefits of the Caribbean Basin Initiative been the most successful of all the Basin countries. Over 250 foreign companies operate in the Dominican Republic Free Zone industrial parks. Textile plants are the most important followed by electronics.
The peso -Dominican currency- stabilized through governmental discipline measures have halted inflation.Transportation and communication is extensive. Cargo traffic directly from Europe, North and South America. A 12,000 kilometer domestic highway network. The telophone system is one of the best and most modern in the world. The capital and other major port cities are served by a number of container services. The Port of Haina, west of Santo Domingo, is one of the most modern container ports of the Caribbean. Transportation to overseas ports are available on a weekly basis.
The importing prospects in the immediate future are:
- Electrical power supplies
- Steel / Metal Ferrous and Non Ferr.
- Woods & Plywood
- Construction Materials
- Electronic components
- Medical equipment
- Agricultural chemicals
- Automobile parts
- Food and food-processing equipment
- Air conditioners and accessories
Real Estate Ownership by Foreigners
Purchases of real property in the Dominican Republic requires Presidential approval , with the following exceptions:
- 1) Purchase of a single piece of real estate not more than 2,000 square meters, 22,000 square feet in size.
- 2) Purchase of land by a foreigner who has been a legal resident of the Dominican Republic for at least five years.
- 3) Purchase of land by a foreigner who is marreid to a Dominican and who has at least one child born on of the marriage in the Dominican Republic.
- 4) Purchase of real estate by foreign banks or other credit institutions legally established in the Dominican Republic. or
- 5) Purchase of real property by a company organized or established in the Dominican Rep. whose stock is at least 51% owned by Dominicans.
- Presidential approval is also required for a foreign individual or corporation to become a mortgagee of real property in the Dominican Republic.
- Presidential approval for the purchase of real property by foreigners, the applicant must submit a letter of application to the Ministry of Interior and Police including:
- a) The name of the current owner
- b) A letter from the current owner declaring his intention to transfer title and stating the purchase price;
- c) A notarized declaration stating that the applicant is acting on his own behalf and indicating the source of financing for the purchase; and
- d) An official appraisal of the property.
- Title to real property must be registered with local land registries. Prospective purchasers should ask for a copy of the owner's title, and should take steps to assure that title may be registered at the time of closing.
- When inheriting real property there are no restrictions on foreigners. Inheritance taxes should be carefully examined with qualified experts. When renting real property. even under long term leases, there are no restrictions on foreigners either.
The Dominican Republic has an advanced, sophisticated communications system.