DR Cafta

On August 5, 2004, the United States signed the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic. The CAFTA-DR is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies. This agreement is creating new economic opportunities by eliminating tariffs, opening markets, reducing barriers to services, and promoting transparency. It is facilitating trade and investment among the seven countries and furthering regional integration.


Central America and the Dominican Republic represent the third largest U.S. export market in Latin America, behind Mexico and Brazil. U.S. exports to the CAFTA-DR countries were valued at $19.5 billion in 2009. Combined total two-way trade in 2009 between the United States and Central America and the Dominican Republic was $37.9 billion.


On August 15, 2008, the CAFTA-DR Parties implemented important changes to the agreement’s textiles provisions, including changing the rules of origin to ensure that pocket fabric in apparel is sourced from the United States or another CAFTA-DR Party. The Parties also implemented a reciprocal textile input sourcing rule with Mexico. Under this rule, Mexico will provide duty-free treatment on certain apparel goods produced in a Central American country or the Dominican Republic with U.S. input, and the United States will provide reciprocal duty-free treatment under the CAFTA-DR on certain apparel goods produced in a Central American country or the Dominican Republic with Mexican input. These changes will further strengthen and integrate regional textile and apparel manufacturing and create new economic opportunities in the United States and the region.


In brief CAFTA:

  • Encompass the United States and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
  • Seek to stimulate, expand, and diversify bilateral trade, promote fair competition, and increase levels of investment between parties.
  • Increases access of Dominican goods to the USA.
  • Guarantees permanent preferential access for goods and services between countries.
  • Test Data Exclusivity for pharmaceutical corporations established in Dominican Republic.
  • Modernization of customs for trade facilitation.
  • Provides consultation services to overcome unnecessary obstacles to trade.

CAFTA/DR Trade Facts

CAFTA/DR countries combined would currently be our 12th largest goods trading partner with $38.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2009. (Note: CAFTA/DR countries would have been the 8th largest if EU countries were grouped together as one entity, as well as NAFTA countries). Exports totaled $20.0 billion; Imports totaled $18.8 billion; The U.S. goods trade surplus with CAFTA/DR was $1.2 billion in 2009.

An important aspect of the Dominican economy is the Free Trade Zone industry (FTZ), which made up U.S. $4.55 billion in Dominican exports for 2006 (70% of total exports).

For more information, please visit: www.serex.gov.do