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Country Profile describes a maturing market in DR


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Location: The eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola (shared with Haiti), the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic is about twice the size of New Jersey.

Language: Spanish

Total Population: 10.7 million

Dominican Republic flag

A white cross divides the flag into four rectangles: blue on the left upper and right lower corners and red on the top right and bottom left. A small coat of arms is at the center of the cross and above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto: Dios, Patria, Libertad (God, Fatherland, Liberty).

Capital: Santo Domingo

Government: Presidential republic

Religion: Roman Catholic (95%)

Economy: Primarily an exporter of sugar, coffee and tobacco for much of its history, the Dominican economy is shifting as the service sector overtakes agriculture as the largest employer. Tourism, construction and free trade zones are all impacting this change. The overall economy is highly dependent on the United States, the destination for about half of exports, and the U.S. in December lifted its ban on produce from seven of the country’s provinces following an outbreak of the Mediterranean fly. Since 2015 the Dominican Republic has posted the fastest economic growth in Latin America.

News note: Following hurricanes Irma and Maria, both of which hit the Dominican Republic in quick succession in September 2017, the country’s tourism infrastructure is operating and was mostly unaffected. Homes and businesses on the north coast were hardest hit but recovery has been quick.   

GDP (official exchange rate): $71.6 billion

Currency: Dominican peso (conversion rate at press time: 1 DOP equals $0.021 USD).

Franchising in the Dominican: The franchise sector has matured since the 1980s, when it was dominated by fast food, and today includes services (25%), retail sales (22%), restaurants (20%), education (14%), personal care (9%) and entertainment (5%). The bulk of franchises are in the Santo Domingo area, along with Santiago in the north. Franchising contributes more than 75,000 jobs to the Dominican economy.  

Ease of doing business ranking by World Bank: 99, unchanged from 2017.

Cultural notes: Communication styles in the Dominican Republic are direct, and Dominicans are considered skilled and tough negotiators. Keep in mind, however, that high-pressure sales tactics aren’t popular, and major decisions are often deferred until after a meeting to allow consultation with senior members of the organization.

Sources: U.S. Commercial Service, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

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