Compared to other countries in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, the Dominican economy has reached high growth levels year after year thanks to construction, tourism, and trade. However, these industries were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, except for construction, which has been recovering since the reopening of the economy.
But what industry could help the Dominican Republic’s economy recover quickly and resume its success after COVID-19? If the Government’s goal of relaunching tobacco production is achieved, this agricultural product could maintain its economic leadership.
Tobacco, according to a report by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and MSMEs (MICM), is one of the most critical sectors and most significant contribution to the Dominican economy since the country is the world’s leading exporter of this product with nearly US$1 billion in exports.
Tobacco generates close to 100,000 direct jobs, with Santiago’s province as the leading producer, contributing 50% of the overall total. The Dominican Republic also produces 280 million handmade cigars and 8,000 million mechanized cigars, making tobacco the product that generates the most significant currency volume in the agricultural area. MICM figures show that in 2019, the country exported US$931.7 million of tobacco, being the second largest volume item with 15.8% of the total by tariff chapter of exports from free zones.