Dominican Republic

Geographic and demographic background

The Dominican Republic (DR) is on the eastern two-thirds of the Hispaniola Island, located in the Caribbean; Atlantic Ocean at its north, Caribbean Sea to the south, Puerto Rico to the east, and Cuba to the west. Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica are referred to as the Greater Antilles.

The western portion of the island is occupied by the Republic of Haiti.

Brief history

The island was discovered on December 5, 1492 by Christopher Columbus, who named  it Hispaniola. The Taino Indians, the indigenous people, were forced into slavery and eventually annihilated by diseases introduced by the Spaniards and by the abuses of slavery. Bartholomew, Christopher Columbus’ brother, was appointed governor and in 1496 he founded Santo Domingo, the capital city. The island of Hispaniola remained under Spanish reign until 1697, when the western part of the island became a French possession. In 1804 it became the Republic of Haiti, and in 1809 the eastern part of the island returned to Spanish rule. In 1821 the Spanish settlers declared an independent state, but just weeks later, Haitian forces invaded the eastern region and incorporated\

Santo Domingo, known then as Saint Domingue.

For the next 22 years, the entire island was under Haitian control. On February 27, 1844, the eastern part of the island declared independence as the “Dominican Republic.” The next 70 years were characterized by political unrest and civil war, mainly due to power struggles among Dominican strongmen for control of the government.

In 1916, Dominican Republic was invaded by the United States Armed Forces until 1924, when USA withdrew its troops due to Harding Plan.
In 1930, Rafael Trujillo came into power and established a dictatorship that ended with his assassination in 1961.
In 1964, during a civil war, USA’s marine corps made a second intervention until April 1965 in which a truce was declared.

Juan Bosch became the first democratically elected president in four decades. In 1966, Joaquin Balaguer won a free election against Bosch. Since then the presidency has changed among three major parties: the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC).

STATISTIC:

Area: 48,442 km²     |     Population: 9.3 millions of inhabitants     |     Population per km2: 193.6 hab. /km²     |     Urban population: 64% (2008)     |     Political system: Republican democracy     |     Form of government: Presidential     |     Language: Spanish     |     Currency: Dominican Peso (RD$ or DOP)     |     Religion: Roman Catholic / Protestant     |     Capital: City Santo Domingo de Guzmán

BUSINESS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic offers multiple business and investment opportunities as a result of a variety of factors, including its unique geographical location, current legal framework, economic stability, and infrastructure.

Its location, in the center of the Caribbean, allows it to access the North, South, and Central American markets with relative ease, as well as to serve as a bridge between those markets and Europe to trade goods and services.

The country’s legal system constitutes another incentive for investment. The Dominican economy has experienced a continuous process of regulatory modernization, which has led to the adoption of a variety of measures aimed at opening and commercially integrating the economy into the international markets. Having recognized that the Dominican market depends on international economic integration, the Dominican  government has opted to create a solid legal foundation that allows for sustained economic stability and growth as well as assures freedom and security to the economy’s different participants when commercializing goods and services.

Additionally, the Dominican Republic has a widespread, developed, and growing physical infrastructure adjusted to the requirements of a society focused on the production and commercialization of goods and services. The Dominican roadways are among the best in the region, connecting practically all areas of the country. The country has modern, broad, and efficient airport and port systems formed by eight international airports and 14 significant seaports located close to key production centers.

Also, the Dominican Republic’s modern telecommunications system is one of the country’s main competitive advantages.