The geographical location of the Dominican Republic has been, for many years, an attraction and an opportunity to boost production for subsequent export, both agricultural and industrial. This has been evidenced by the development of the sector in recent years.
According to data from the Dominican Association of Exporters (Adoexpo), the country has exported US$4,128.7 million this year to April 2022, 9.9% more than the same period in 2021. Of these, US$1,615.6 million belong to domestic exports and US$2,513 million to free trade zones.
Regarding this panorama, Adoexpo’s president, Elizabeth Mena, highlights the progress that the sector is making, while recognizing that there are still challenges to be faced. “Internally, we have to make a review (…) to reinvent ourselves and grow in capacity and anticipate what the world is requesting”.
Mena highlights the need for Dominicans to “internalize” the country’s export capacity, which currently has the United States, Haiti, Switzerland and Puerto Rico as its main export destinations.
Taking advantage of and understanding nearshoring and friendshoring is key to continue promoting and diversifying industries. This is the opinion of the vice-president of Corporación Minera Dominicana (Cormidom), who said that it is necessary to “remain attentive and innovative”.
The consultant and expert in economic studies Roberto Despradel highlights the dynamism of exports, which, he says, “have been growing consistently, month after month. It was one of the most resilient sectors at the time of the pandemic and after the pandemic”. However, to continue boosting the sector, Mena highlights the need for a fiscal review of raw material imports in order to “add value to the products we have”.
“We are seeing a trend in reducing the distance in supply in geographical terms and many companies are feeling more comfortable if the supplier and seller are closer to their market,” explains Despradel.
Thanks to this new context, the markets see the Dominican Republic as an option to acquire their raw materials, mainly the countries of the region. In addition, the local supply has diversified. “We have mining, agricultural, agro-industrial and important industrial exports”.
Despradel affirms that “the markets to which they are destined are mainly the United States, the European Union and the Greater Caribbean, markets where we have free trade agreements and the relative advantage over other competitors”.
From mining to medical equipment, the products available for export in the Dominican Republic have expanded over the years. “We have a fairly diversified export base, where the bulk of the items are growing significantly compared to the pre-Pandemic period,” said the economist.
He adds that “being able to have the input at the right time is more valued. The Dominican Republic has the advantage of its geographical location and has the advantage of having a free trade agreement with the United States, which only 17 countries have”.
According to Adoexpo data, national agricultural exports registered US$446.7 million in the first four months of the year, up 17.3%, when compared to the same period in 2021, and those from free trade zones decreased by 0.7%, with an exported value of US$508.8 million.
50 years of Adoexpo
Adoexpo celebrates its 50th anniversary on June 15. Its president affirms that the guild’s trajectory has been marked by transformation processes in the export sector. “In order for us to get to where we are today, many things have happened. A lot of work has been done and there is still a lot of work to be done.
The association’s mission is framed around the diversification of local products. Hence, the focus on areas in demand in international markets. “We are opening chapters for what is the area of the future and continue to strengthen traditional exports. A look at sustainable and environmentally friendly production”.
In addition, says Mena, they have focused on working on “the elimination of obstacles to foreign trade and the elimination of situations that had been foreseen to be able to export, so that today we can say that we are meeting these record figures”.
“It has been five decades of hard work and we thank the past presidents and executive directors for their hard work. Listening to their stories, we realize that the trajectory has not been easy,” the executive argues. Currently, they have the Sustainability and Environment Chapter, and Women Exporters.