The Industrial Free Zones began their development in the Dominican Republic in 1969 with the installation of the first park in the city of La Romana, owned by the transnational company Gulf and Western Americas Corporation, that operated in the sugar business since 1967.
It was not by accident that the development and the administration of the first Industrial Free Zone was made by a transnational organization. Until them, it did not exist in the country the knowledge or the experience on this type of industrial development for the attraction of new investments.
The second Industrial Free Zone Park was born in 1972, in the province of San Pedro de Macorís, with the auspice of the public sector through the Industrial Development Corporation, a decentralized organization of the State in charged of its administration and operation.
In 1973 the industrial park of Santiago began their operation. Instituted by National Decree, differs from the park at San Pedro de Macorís on the form it is operated. Its administration was delegated in a corporation without aims of profit, created to the effect and under the direction of a group of businessmen of the region.
By 1973, the three existing parks began to grow on a sustainable way to the extent that during the decade of 1973 - 1983 the established companies went from 15 to 101.
The demand continued with greater intensity during the years 1986, 1987 and 1988, when the Dominican Republic registered the most important process of installation of new companies and foreign direct investment in the Caribbean and Central America region, surpassing all the nations of the area.
In 1984, the economic authorities decided to leave the control on foreign exchange and allow the exchange rate to be governed by a free market.
On the same year, the Initiative for the Caribbean Basin (ICC) was implemented by the government of the United States, allowing a preferential tariff treatment to products coming from countries of the Caribbean and the Central America region.
As of today, the Dominican Republic account with one of the most dynamic and successful programs in the entire Central America and Caribbean region. This program has demonstrated to be an effective and profitable alternative to foreign investors, mainly because of the proximity of the country to the United States. These manufacturing centers allow foreign and local companies to establish operations and benefit from tax incentives and import facilities. There are 57 industrial free zones parks in operation, scattered through out the national territory, home of more than 500 companies.
Textile is the activity that has been more developed within free zones companies, being our country an important exporter to the United States. Other industries of importance are footwear, jewelry, assembly of medical and electronic components, tobacco processing, data services and telecommunications, among others.