Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Import Regulations - Dominican Republic

Tariffs and Import Taxes:

The Dominican Republic uses the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) for commodity classification. Taxes and duties for imported goods are calculated on the ad valorem price (i.e. the CIF price in US dollars multiplied by the unified foreign exchange rate). All duties and taxes are collected in Dominican pesos. Except for products subject to exemptions provided by law, there are three taxes that may apply on imports:

Tariff (Arancel): the basic import tax, which ranges from 0% to 40%. Dominican tariffs are bound by the WTO standards for all commodities, with the exception of the following eight agricultural commodities for which tariff rate quotas have been established: rice, sugar, chicken parts, pork, corn, onions, milk powder and garlic.

Luxury Tax (Impuesto Selectivo al Consumo): This is a consumption tax for luxury imports or "non-essential" goods that ranges between 15% and 80%. This tax is calculated on the CIF price. Luxury goods include, among others, perfume, whiskey, motor vehicles and tobacco.

Industrialized Goods and Services Tax (ITBIS - Impuesto de Transferencia a los Bienes Industrializados y Servicios): This is a 18% tax on almost all goods and services. Very few products and services are exempted from ITBIS. ITBIS is calculated on the CIF price plus the amount paid for all taxes and duties previously mentioned.

Import licences:

Industrial products and commercial goods:

With the exception of pharmaceutical and personal care products (including cosmetics, skin care products, and drugs), most products do not require specific import licences. The Ministry of Health issues import licences (Sanitary Registry) for pharmaceutical products, which are valid for a period of five years.


Chemicals and fertilizers: All chemicals and/or organic fertilizers for agricultural use imported into the Dominican Republic require import permits, which can be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Agricultural commodities: There are currently eight items that are protected from imports under the "Technical Rectification" clause approved by the WTO (rice, beans, garlic, powder milk, sugar, onions, corn, and unprocessed chicken). Import of these products are subject to tariff rate quotas, and require previous permits from the Government to enter the country. "No objection" and other type of permits are often required to import agricultural commodities into the Dominican Republic. In addition, phytosanitary certificates issued by recognized authorities in the country of origin must accompany live plants and agricultural material used in planting. Imports of animals normally require certificates of origin and other veterinarian documentation to assure disease-free status. Testing is done at the port of entry to reconfirm pest-free status. Imports of food and agricultural products are normally facilitated through local distributors.

Livestock: Live animal imports require a certificate of origin and veterinarian documentation confirming disease-free status.

BSE: Imports of Canadian beef remain banned since 2003 due to the BSE case found in Alberta back then.

Import / export documentation:

Full documentation should be in Spanish or accompanied by a Spanish translation, and should include the following: transportation document (air waybill or bill of lading), commercial invoice, packing list, insurance certificate, and certificate of origin (for some products).

Imports into free trade zones do not require import licences or customs duties. Further information on the Free Trade Zone National Council (CNZF) is obtainable by contacting it directly at:

Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas

Contact: Lic. Luisa Fernández Durán, Executive Director
Leopoldo Navarro No. 61
Edif. San Rafael, piso no. 5
Santo Domingo, D.R.
Tel.: (809) 686-8077
Email: l.fernandez@cnzfe.gob.do
Website: www.cnzfe.gob.do/ingles/indexi.html

Labelling requirements:

Regulations on marking and labelling are created and enforced by INDOCAL (Instituto Dominicano para la Calidad - formely DIGENOR). Dominican Republic’s labelling requirement mandates that all pre-packed foods must have a sanitary registry number and the label in Spanish, including on it information on the ingredients, expiration date, industrial and sanitary registry numbers, name and address of manufacturer/distributor, among others. However, DR authorities are temporarily accepting that local companies (importers) stick a Spanish label with the required information on top of the original ones. Nutritional information, which is not mandatory under this norm, will be required at a later stage (TBD).

Instituto Dominicano para la Calidad
Contact: Eng. Manuel Guerrero, Director
Tel.: 809-686-2205

email: indocal@indocal.gob.do
Website: www.indocal.gob.do

Prohibited imports:

Beef: On May 2003 the Dominican authorities banned the import of Canadian beef due to the BSE case found in Alberta. Christmas Trees: The ban on imports of natural Christmas trees has been in place for decades because of the pest risk the DR authorities consider they represent.

Customs valuation:

Under regular clearance, importers should expect 2-4 days for customs clearance.

Two types of rapid clearance procedures are available for those requiring faster service:
Advance Declaration (Declaracion Anticipada): Submission of customs documentation 25 days before arrival of the shipment.
Express Dispatch (Despacho Expreso): Shipments may be dispatched in four hours under this method, in which goods are declared in advance and the shipment is verified by customs officials at the importer's warehouse.

Foreign exchange:

Foreign exchange is supervised by the Central Bank. Commercial banks and authorized exchange banks do foreign currency transactions like exchange, transfers, etc. An extra set of all import / export documents should be forwarded to the bank to facilitate foreign exchange transactions. Generally speaking, payments are made almost exclusively in US dollars.

Distributors and agents, franchising and joint ventures:

There are several ways for exporters to enter the Dominican market: locally appointed distributors, a wholly owned subsidiary, joint venture partners, or Dominican importers and wholesalers. Although the use of an agent or a distributor is not required, exporters wishing to market a product or service in the Dominican Republic on a regular basis, without opening offices or maintaining a joint venture, should find an agent or distributor. Please contact us at sdmgo@international.gc.ca, or visit our santodomingo.gc.ca website, if you want to receive further information on appointing an agent or distributor.

Franchising is still a growing sector. There is considerable joint venture/licensing activity, including manufacturing and services. Before negotiating a joint venture or licensing partnership, legal counsel should be consulted to minimize potential conflicts, unexpected taxes, withholding expenses on royalties, contributions to capital and related aspects of these ventures.

Tariffs and Market Access Information

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), through its Multilateral Market Access Division (TMA), provides market access information on tariffs, taxes and related matters to Canadian exporters of Canadian goods.

July 2015