There are over 46 industrial free zones in the Dominican Republic, with more of them under development. About 500 companies operate in the free trade zones, offering employment to around 200,000 people. The free trade zones play an important role in the Dominican economy. After all, 70% of all Dominican exports come from industries and businesses within the free trade zones.
While apparel is the leading industry, the focus is also shifting to other areas of production, including electrical products, cigars, medical instruments, and pharmaceuticals. It is not just the manufacturing industries, but also the services sector in the free trade zones which are growing; typical industries include telecommunications, marketing, and travel agencies. All in all, these zones keep attracting foreign investors. This is also due to the fact that local companies outside of the free trade zones are integrated with free zone operations. Exporters with producers located outside the free trade zones benefit from a special free zone status.