The Dominican Republic’s strategic location in the Caribbean offers a great advantage to USA and European markets. The main trading partner is the USA. Under the Caribbean Trade Initiative agreement, the Dominican Republic is the fourth largest partner of the USA within Latin America and the Caribbean, behind Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.
The country still has duty-free access to USA markets for approximately 3,000 manufactured and semi-manufactured goods under the Generalised System of Preferences, which benefits developing countries. Dominican exports also have duty-free entry the European Union (EU), with 450 million affluent consumers market, under the Lomé IV Accord (now Cotonou). The country is implementing free trade agreements signed with the English-speaking Caribbean (Caricom) and Central America.
In 2008, the members of CARIFORUM (CARICOM countries plus the Dominican Republic) signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in order to make it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other and thus to help Caribbean countries grow their economies and create jobs. The agreement has led to a general opening of the EU market beyond World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments in the service sectors, including the creative and entertainment industries. It ensures duty-free-quota-free market access into the EU for all products. With regard to EU exports to the region, exports of sensitive products will gradually be liberalised over a period of 25 years. Also, the EPA with the EU will make it possible for CARIFORUM companies to set up a commercial presence in the EU.