Dominican Republic: A Promising Market for U.S. Pork - Pork Checkoff

Dominican Republic: A Promising Market for U.S. Pork

The Dominican Republic’s growing economy and thriving tourism sector have boosted its viability as a trading partner in the last decade. Currently, the D.R. is the 17th largest export market for U.S. agricultural products. Exports totaled $1.4 billion in 2020, which is a 19% increase over the past decade.

Source: USDA

U.S. Pork Exports to the Dominican Republic

Thanks to the CAFTA-DR, a free trade agreement between Central America, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic (D.R.), most goods are freely traded with limited or no tariffs.

Through CAFTA-DR, duties on all U.S. pork products to the D.R. were phased to zero by 2020 for unlimited volumes, so all U.S. pork now enters duty free.

Top imported U.S. pork and pork variety meats to the country include picnics, hams, trimmings and loins.

Sources: USMEF, USDA



Source: USMEF

African Swine Fever Impact

  • African Swine Fever has been confirmed to be in the Dominican Republic in July of 2021.
  • The D.R. has 1.9 million pigs which take care of roughly 70% of domestic Dominican pork consumption, the remaining 30% is imported from the U.S.
  • USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the U.S. Pork and pork products from the D.R. are currently prohibited entry as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products to the United States.

Source: USDA-APHIS, Customs & Border Protection

Dominican Republic Protein Consumption

Pork per capita consumption in the D.R. is estimated at 20.4 lbs. (product weight) in 2020, higher than Guatemala (8.2 lbs.) and Honduras (9.7 lbs.), but below Panama (26.8 lbs.), signaling further room for growth.

While total domestic protein production has decreased since 2008, rising incomes and demand from a growing tourism sector will continue to increase protein consumption.

Source: USDA-FAS


Source: USDA FAS

$150.8 Million

In 2021, U.S. pork exports to the D.R. totaled 129.5 million pounds valuing $150.8 million. 2021 exports were up 48% year-over-year in volume and up 67% year-over-year in value. It is the highest annual total on record passing 2018 records of 94.1 million pounds valued at $92.5 million.


Pork Merchandising Opportunities

As the D.R. continues to develop its food distribution channel, it has the potential to be a consistent and valuable market for U.S. pork.

The GAIN report states that Dominican consumers are strongly influenced by U.S. culture and place high value and trust in U.S. products. Citizens of the D.R. have begun to place more value on high-quality and healthy products which serves as a great opportunity for U.S. exporters.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) strives to stay present in this market by hosting educational cooking displays, workshops and collaborating with Dominican importers. Also, events like the annual Latin American Product Showcase provide opportunities for customers in the D.R. to connect with U.S. pork exporters.

Marketing U.S. pork as a safe, consistent and delicious product can help build more frequent consumption habits and a stronger customer base.