The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force for the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in 2006, for the Dominican Republic in 2007, and for Costa Rica in 2009. As a result of the FTA, 100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods exported to CAFTA-DR countries were no longer subject to tariffs by 2015. Tariffs on nearly all U.S. agricultural products will be phased out by 2020. To be eligible for tariff-free treatment under the FTA, products must meet the relevant rules of origin.
Under the Agreement, the Parties are significantly liberalizing trade in goods and services. CAFTA-DR also includes important disciplines relating to customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, transparency, and labor and environmental protection. CAFTA-DR creates new commercial opportunities for the United States while promoting regional stability, economic integration, and economic development.
The CAFTA-DR region was the thirteenth largest U.S. export market in the world in 2014, and the third largest in Latin America behind Mexico and Brazil. The United States exported $31.3 billion in goods to the five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic in 2014, almost 86 percent higher than the level in 2005, the year before the Agreement first entered into force.
Key U.S. exports that have experienced significant growth in the CAFTA-DR countries since the implementation of the Agreement include: petroleum products, machinery, electrical/electronic products, textile fabrics, cotton yarns, cereals (wheat, corn, rice), plastics, motor vehicles, paper products, and medical instruments.
Our country also has a highly favorable access to international markets. We currently have free trade agreements with forty eight (48) countries, which gives us preferential access to over one billion consumers around the world. These agreements have established rules of origin allowing the productive integration of the country with suppliers located in dozens of countries worldwide.
The Dominican Republic also exhibits an extensive and modern network of transport infrastructure, including eight (8) international airports; eleven (11) ports, and more than 25,000 kilometers of highways and roads.
The DR possesses an extraordinary geographical location, right in the center of the Americas, and only a couple of hours away from the world’s largest market. For example, a container that goes to the East Coast of the United States from Southeast Asia, will take between 32 and 38 days to arrive. A container shipped from the Dominican Republic to the same destination, will only take three days.
Currently, the Dominican Republic receives approximately ninety (90) weekly vessels with direct routes to North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia; and more than one hundred and thirty (130) daily flights, with great connectivity to North America, Central America and Europe. Logistics are supported by a solid network of infrastructure.
The Dominican Republic has unique features that make the country possessor of an enviable potential. Our ports are one of the most important logistics assets, given our participation in the international exchange of assets.
The maritime industry has achieved a strong impact due to its strategic geographical position, high maritime connectivity index, resulting from the high frequency of maritime line services added to the high variety of destinations being served directly from the country, quality of port infrastructure and market size, thus achieving large volumes of exports and extensive coverage throughout the Caribbean, reaching a high level of efficiency in logistics operations and shaping us as the next largest logistics hub in the Caribbean.
DP World Caucedo is a world-class maritime terminal, free zone and logistics park, located in Punta Caucedo, 25 kilometers from the city of Santo Domingo, which is the country’s political and commercial capital. With one of the best connectivity indexes in the region and with more than 16 of the main shipping companies in the world.
Our strategic location and proximity to the market, combined with a high level of operational standards, allows us them to handle more than 1.68 thousand millions TEU per year, as well as 60% of the country’s maritime trade.
Their logistic free zone park, offers high quality A class warehouses that combine port and storage operations, providing customers with an integral container transport solution from the dock to the warehouse. The Caucedo Logistics Center has availability of up to 300,000 m² to build custom warehouses, which allows unparalleled savings in transportation cost, supply chain and efficient customs procedures.
All of the above, in addition to our proximity to the Las Americas International Airport, creates the ideal multimodal platform in the center of the Caribbean and Central America region.