Foreign policy and defense
Foreign policy is dominated by relations with
the United States and with neighboring Haiti. The
Dominican Republic is economically and strategically
dependent on the United States and the countries
cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking.
Relations with poor and crisis-stricken Haiti are
historically characterized by mistrust.
International human rights organizations have often
criticized the Dominican Republic's handling of
paperless Haitians, and a delegation from the US
Congress in 2007 sharply criticized the treatment of
Haitian workers on sugar plantations. In the same year a
new military border force was formed, but according to a
domestic report a few years later it was corrupt and
human smuggling across the border had increased.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Dominican Republic for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The UN Special Rapporteurs on Racism and
Discrimination against Minorities have also repeatedly
called on the government to take action against racism.
The government denies that racism exists and believes
that measures have already been taken to improve the
situation of Haitian immigrants.
After the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010, the
Dominican Republic assisted by letting injured Haitians
into the country, foreign aircraft with supplies were
given the opportunity to land and soldiers were
dispatched to assist the UN in the neighboring country.
However, an outbreak of cholera in Haiti, and fears that
the Dominican Republic would catch the infection, led to
new restrictions and in 2011 the country began to deport
Haitians again. However, both countries have shown
interest in tackling the problems and in mid-2016 a
bilateral commission was formed whose purpose was to
solve issues related to border trade, transport and
From the 1940s until 2018, the Dominican Republic was
one of the few countries that maintained diplomatic
relations with Taiwan instead of China. Growing trade
exchanges and promises of investment and aid from China
helped the country change partners. China and Taiwan do
not recognize each other and no third party can maintain
relations with both.
The Dominican Republic is a member of the OAS as well
as in a number of other intergovernmental organizations
in the region. Among them is Celac, which was formed in
2011 in an attempt to deepen cooperation between Latin
American and Caribbean countries.
The country also joined the ACS organization from
1994, and in 2013 it also joined an association with
seven Central American countries, Sica. There are plans
within Sica to eventually introduce a single currency
and to standardize laws on immigration, education and
security. Just before Christmas 2017, President Medina
hosted representatives of government and opposition in
the crisis-stricken Venezuela who wanted to try to get
negotiations on neutral ground.
The country has observer status in and a free trade
agreement with the Caribbean organization Caricom.
Cariforum - the Caricom countries and the Dominican
Republic - signed an Economic Partnership Agreement
(EPA) with the EU in 2008. Since 2007, the Dominican
Republic is also covered by the Cafta-DR Free Trade
Agreement with the United States and Central America.
The military, which has long had a role in politics,
is now under civilian control and the forces have been
lost. The Dominican Republic has a professional defense;
military service does not exist.
FACTS - DEFENSE
28 750 men (2017)
The air Force
16 100 men (2017)
11,200 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
0.7 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
3.6 percent (2017)