Guzmán Ariza > Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic > Firm Profile

Guzmán Ariza
Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic > Labour and employment Tier 1

Guzmán Ariza draws on its strength in the tourism sector to advise a number of major hospitality clients on labour matters, in addition to assisting large companies from the commercial, services, financial and construction industries. The team is highly active in labour litigation, representing both employers and senior executives, and also handles the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements with unions. On the non-contentious side, the practice covers advice on employment contracts and terminations, payroll issues, the labour aspects of M&A transactions, and compliance with labour regulations. The sizeable team, which is spread across the firm’s offices, is led by Rubén García in Las Terrenas and Rhadaisis Espinal in Santo Domingo; both stand out for their expertise in labour disputes. Julio Brea Guzmán and senior counsel Elvis Roque, both based in Sosúa, are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rubén García; Rhadaisis Espinal


‘Guzman Ariza stay abreast of legal developments in the country and have the best synergy we have witnessed with their clients. They know how to respond quickly to the client’s immediate and long-term requirements, always obtaining the best results. Our success rate has been excellent since they have started representing us.’

‘Julio Brea and Elvis Roque are strategists and stand out for their use of technology, immediate responses, availability when needed and good use of time.’

Key clients

Club Med

Pawa Dominicana

New York Mets

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

SH Cacao CO Partners

Sosúa Ocean Village

Orica Dominicana

Grupo Laugama

GAP Medics


Digital Works

Work highlights

  • Representing Major League Baseball team the New York Mets in a lawsuit filed by a local company which allegedly represented a rookie player from Puerto Plata over the player’s contract.
  • Advised Club Med on structuring the labour aspects of its new resort in Miches, including negotiating the establishment of a separate union for the new operation.
  • Representing Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club in more than 300 labour cases involving its hotels in more than three provinces in the country, relating to Covid-19 issues, relocations and severance payments.

Dominican Republic > Real estate and tourism Tier 1

Fabio Guzmán Ariza heads the real estate department at Guzmán Ariza, where Alfredo Guzmán Saladín handles a variety of matters, aided by close involvement of of counsel Giselle Pérez Reyes and senior counsel Marianne Olivares. Guzmán Saladín’s work includes acting for long-term client Club Med and a real estate developer on their land and property acquisitions – including construction permits, operating licences and tax exemptions – as well as handling service contract negotiations and leasing and commercialisation agreements for Meliá Hotels International, and environmental and corporate work. Julio Brea Guzmán regularly acts for tourism clients in construction disputes; he represented Sosúa Ocean Village and Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort in adjudication and litigation respectively against building companies. Rubén García and César Calderón  oversaw the development of a gated community, including corporate and land purchase advice, while associate Achelis Santana works on real estate and corporate law.

Practice head(s):

Fabio J Guzmán Ariza; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín; Julio Brea Guzmán; Rubén J. García; César Calderón


‘Attention to detail and particularity of customer management.’

‘Guzman Ariza is a firm at the forefront of legal developments in the Dominican Republic; its partners participate in discussions prior to legislation that involve the main investment issues in the country (real estate, corporate and tourism). The team is prepared to provide assistance and prepare strategies for foreign investment in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.’

‘Elvis Roque and Julio Brea are both proactive, willing to provide assistance at any time or day, excellent legal strategists who have respect for clients’ decisions.’

Key clients

Club Mediterranée

Meliá Hotels International

Anex Tours

12Tree Finance

NOVAL Properties

Sunwing Travel Group (Nexus Tours, Royalton)

Viva Wyndham Resorts

Sosúa Ocean Village

Tierra del Sol Beach Hotel and Casino

Elof Hansson

Ani Villas

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

Dream City

Acun Medya

Althelia Blue Finance

Villas Infinity

Knauf GIPS

Blue Jack Tar

Dama Hoteles

Nader Enterprises

Grupo Roble/Real Hotel & Resorts/Grupo Poma, Real Estate Developer

Hotels Association of Cap Cana

Work highlights

  • Currently assisting Club Med in obtaining and renewing all operating licences for the hotel, restaurant and tourist activities, as well as negotiating with the government for the extension of several kilometres of the main highway that connects all these new developments with the rest of the city of Bavaro/Punta Cana.
  • Recently assisted Melia Hotels in the amendment and renewal of a commercialisation agreement with one of their main tour operator partners (Manatí), which involved all of Melia’s properties and set complex fixed and variable rates based on sales goals.
  • Currently collaborating with Norton Rose Fulbright LLP’s London office in representing Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund project in the Dominican Republic, which intends to provide financing of US$20m for the development and management of the Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary, the second largest natural reserve in the country, covering an area of 7,862.59 sq km.

Dominican Republic > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Guzmán Ariza advises on corporate transactions across a wide range of sectors, including real estate and tourism (drawing on firm-wide expertise in these fields), construction, media and entertainment, and food and beverages. The team handles foreign investments and M&A, and has particular strength in assisting clients with cross-border restructurings. Fabio Guzmán Saladín, who has longstanding experience in M&A, restructurings and day-to-day corporate matters in the aviation, banking, construction, energy, real estate and tourism sectors, among others, co-chairs the practice with Alfredo Guzmán Saladín, who takes the lead on corporate and commercial matters from the Punta Cana and La Romana offices. Alberto Reyes is also a key contact, particularly for advising film production companies on corporate matters.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Saladín; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín; Alberto Reyes; Fabio Guzmán Ariza

Key clients

Grupo Poma

The Walt Disney Company

Tyson Foods

HH Global

Ridge Partners

Highgate – Hospitality Investment and Management Company/Hallifax Holdings


JTI – Japan Tobacco International

Liquid Agency/McCann

PAWA Dominicana (Pan Am World Airways Dominicana)

12Tree Finance

Elof Hansson

Knauf GIPS

SH Cacao CO Partners (19 degrees services)

Acun Medya

Digital Works Company

Trevi Galante

UBS Group Investment Bank

General Cocoa Company – Coffee America

Rep1 Baseball

Distinct Investment Holdings – Renova Expert

Gold Star Tobacco

Arconim Constructora


POSCO Engineering and Construction

Potentia Renewables (Emerald Solar Energy)

Embajada de Israel

Air Berlin


NHN Group

Future Fintech

Blue Orchard

TRADULCA (Transporte Duluc)



James Waite Law

Work highlights

  • Advised Tyson Foods on two reorganisations.
  • Advised Schrader Camargo on the incorporation of Consortium Catalina 15 to provide services to the $2bn Punta Catalina thermoelectric power plant project in the Dominican Republic.
  • Acted as local counsel to the Walt Disney Company on the production of a television series in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Highlighted for its ‘excellent legal strategies‘, Guzmán Ariza has long experience in dispute resolution. The firm has particular strength in bankruptcy and restructuring cases, and is currently representing both creditors and debtors in high-profile proceedings. Other areas of expertise include disputes in the real estate, construction and hospitality sectors. Fabio Guzmán Ariza, who is highly regarded for bankruptcy, labour and medical malpractice litigation, leads the practice alongside Rhadaisis Espinal, Alberto Reyes Báez and Julio Brea Guzmán, who has notable expertise in real estate and condominium disputes.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Ariza; Rhadaisis Espinal; Julio Brea Guzmán; Alberto Reyes Baez


‘Guzman Ariza’s team maintains a high standard of professionalism when it comes to providing us with the required service. Likewise, I highly value the client protocol and individualised files that are used for electronic communication with us. Dealing with the client is always correct in terms of the client-lawyer relationship, which is of the utmost importance so that the client has the confidence to adhere to the process.’

‘The team stands out for its professionalism in dealing with queries and other documentation, as well as its availability to attend to our requirements, the high level of knowledge, practical solutions and diligence in the matters required by us as clients.’

‘What differentiates the team is its knowledge of the subject, management and use of technology to solve cases, prompt responses to clients and excellent legal strategies.’

‘Julio Brea is highly motivated to provide the best client service, and has the ability to respond immediately to the client’s requirements, provides an excellent service and identifies with the company’s values.’

‘The Guzman Ariza team have good reasoning that allow them to analyse situations comprehensively, with a business-oriented vision. The collaboration between team members in their different areas of specialisation is notable.’

‘The team’s best qualities are their willingness and sense of urgency to attend calls and meetings and answer questions.’

Key clients

Pawa Dominicana

Club Med

JJH Capital Inversiones Extranjeras

Wells Fargo Bank

Sunwing Travel Group


Meliá Hotels International

Nicholas Tawil

Edesur Dominicana

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

Consorcio de Construcciones Planificadas

Dominican Government (Bahía de las Aguilas)

Acun Medya

Cap Maison

Tierra Del Sol

Dream City Country Club and Resort

Playa Encuentro Beach Resort

Work highlights

  • Acting for PAWA Dominicana in its bankruptcy proceedings, the largest and most complex so far in the Dominican Republic.
  • Successfully defended Club Med against a $6m lawsuit filed by a cigar producing company for an allegedly illegal eviction from its supposedly rented premises in the resort.
  • Acting for Wells Fargo in the collection of mortgage debt originally recorded in the name of Wachovia Bank, which merged with Wells Fargo in 2010, on a property in Case de Campo.

Dominican Republic > Tax Tier 2

Counting a large humber of international companies among its clients, Guzmán Ariza‘s tax practice benefits from the inclusion of tax adviser and accountant Mariano Corral. Fabio J Guzmán-Saladín co-heads the practice and oversees the majority of the firm’s tax work, which often involves advice on tax matters as part of a corporate service. Free zone parks are an area of experience, with the team advising investment funds, manufacturers and telecoms companies on these, as well as tax structuring, which makes up much of the firm’s work. Fellow co-head Alfredo Guzmán Saladín handles tax exemptions and structuring for tourism clients, as well as creating a tax strategy for payments and lease agreements for a trading company. Dispute resolution partner Alberto Reyes Báez often provides support, frequently on tax issues for consortiums.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Saladín; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín


‘Competent, many areas of expertise in one firm.’

Key clients

Warner Gaming

Eden Roc at Cap Cana Hotel (Solaya Resorts and Hotel)

Fuxion BioTech

Schrader Camargo

12Tree Finance GmbH

Club Med

Elof Hansson



Mammoet Caribbean

Francisco Martinez Group

Tecnove Group

SH Cacao CO Partners LP (19 degrees services)


Silva International Investments

Digital Works Company

Voith Hydro Ltda.

Potentia Renewables Inc.

Noval Properties

Work highlights

  • Advised 12Tree Finance in the development of greenfield and brownfield investments in the Dominican cacao-coconut industry, through the creation of a free zone park, thus getting better tax incentives and benefits.
  • Advised Schrader Camargo on the incorporation of the Consortium Catalina 15. to provide services to the $2bn Punta Catalina thermoelectric power plant project in the Dominican Republic, including handling its tax matters.
  • Legal counsel for Fastenal since August 2009, assisting the client in all corporate, contractual, tax, and government matters.

Dominican Republic > Banking and finance Tier 3

Guzmán Ariza focuses on restructuring and bankruptcy matters, such as handling airline PAWA Dominicana’s bankruptcy and the restructuring of debt for construction client Arconim Constructora. The firm also advises on loan agreements, such as acting for microfinance manager Blue Orchard on its loans to a Central American bank, and project financing, including working on a $37m financing for a photovoltaic power plant project. Fabio Guzmán Saladín and Alberto Reyes Báez oversee the majority of the firm’s finance work, with close involvement by senior counsel Pamela Benzán Arbaje. Work also includes acting for international financial institutions; the team advised a German asset manager on greenfield and brownfield investments in the Dominican cacao-coconut industry, as well as counting Swiss multinational bank UBS Group as a client. Alfredo Guzmán Saladín, who assists in liquidation proceedings and restructurings, and managing partner Fabio Guzmán Ariza are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Saladín; Alberto Reyes; Alfredo Guzmán Saladín; Fabio J Guzmán Ariza


‘Fabio Guzman is very responsive and helpful on matters. He is a solid partner.’

Key clients

Blue Orchard

PAWA Dominicana (Pan Am World Airways Dominicana)

POSCO Engineering

12Tree Finance

UBS Group Investment Bank

General Cocoa Company – Coffee America

Distinct Investment Holdings – Renova Expert

Arconim Constructora

Potentia Renewables (Emerald Solar Energy)


Tecnove Group

Schrader Camargo

JTI – Japan Tobacco International

Work highlights

  • Advised 12Tree Finance Investment on the development of greenfield and brownfield investments in the Dominican cacao-coconut industry, assisting with regulations, permits and acquisitions.
  • Advised Emerald Solar Energy, a subsidiary of the Canadian group Potentia Renewables, on a $37m financing through the Free Closed Investment Fund for the Development of Dominican Infrastructure, managed by Administradora de Fondos de Inversión Universal (Investment Fund Universal), with the loan proceeds used primarily to refinance existing debt and finance the operation of a 25MW photovoltaic power plant located in Barahona, Dominican Republic.
  • Performed legal due diligence and advised on collateral and local restructuring and liquidation regulations for Blue Orchard, regarding two loan agreements for $40m each given to Banco Lafise, a Central American bank with operations in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic > Environment Tier 3

Much of Guzmán Ariza‘s work in this practice involves the environmental aspects of hotel and tourist resort developments, with Giselle Pérez Reyes, who was appointed partner in September 2022, handling construction licences, permits and advice regarding protected areas. Reyes worked on the multi-million-dollar Anex Tours development, a mixed-use real estate and tourism project, which involved an environmental impact study and advice on design as the development contained protected areas. The firm additionally gained environmental permits for Club Med’s hotel construction and Noval’s gated community development, both also valued in the multi-millions of dollars. Senior partner Fabio Guzmán Saladín works on environmentally beneficial projects; primarily he advises foreign investors aiming to finance sustainable projects in the country (particularly regarding regulatory compliance for sustainable forestry opportunities and due diligence connected to the development of nature reserves), and also counsel for renewable energy projects on their environmental compliance.

Practice head(s):

Fabio Guzmán Saladín; Giselle Perez Reyes

Key clients

Club Mediterranée (Club Med)

Anex Tours

12Tree Finance


Viva Wyndham Resorts

Ani Villas

Dream City

Athelia Blue Finance

Knauf GIPS

Nader Enterprises

Jason Sees

Levitals Grupo Inversor

Potentia Renewables (Emerald Solar Energy)

Althelia Blue Finance

Nader Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Advised 12Tree Finance on the development of greenfield and brownfield investments in the Dominican cacao-coconut industry, through the creation of a free zone park.
  • Representing Althelia Blue Finance’s Sustainable Ocean Fund SICAV-SIF’s project to provide financing of US$5m for the development and management of the Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary, the second largest natural reserve in the country, covering an area of 7,862.59 km2.
  • Assisted Potentia Renewables (Emerald Solar Energy) with due diligence, as well as environmental compliance and required studies, to obtain the final concession for three wind farms in the Dominican Republic, of 50MW, 40MW and 25MW each.

Dominican Republic > Intellectual property Tier 3

Guzmán Ariza‘s main body of work is registration of trademarks, as well as amending previous registrations due to changes of law. A highlight is the firm’s work with innovative 3D marks to avoid counterfeit goods, which it has registered successfully for oil and gas giant Gazprom and manufacturer Senninger Irrigation. Fabio J Guzmán-Saladín oversees all of the firm’s IP work, while senior counsel Leandro Corral has grown the firm’s client list significantly over the last year. The pair work on trademark registrations and renewals particularly for the manufacturing sector, but also advise food and beverage, tourism and pharmaceutical clients on matters such as criminal complaints of counterfeit products and registration of designs and products. The firm also advises Ecuador IP firm Moeller Gomez Lince & Cia on trademark registrations in the Dominican Republic for its clients.

Practice head(s):

Leandro Corral; Fabio Guzmán Saladín

Key clients

Gazprom Neft

Kikkoman Corporation

Gold Star Tobacco

Sunwing Travel Group


T & Beer

Senninger Irrigation

Rud Starcke GmbH & Co

Industria Farmo Química

Moeller Gomez Lince & Cia

Xponentiall Fitness

Inversiones Austral

René Schönefeld Industries

Masonite Corporation

Productora de Capsulas de Gelatina-PROCAPS


DLA Piper


Zinpro Inc.

Coffee Marks Limited

Rocky Brands/Creative Recreation

Knobble Martens

Jidam IP Law Firm

Estudio Bazan Martos


TNY Legal

Fay Sharpe


McKee, Voorhees & Sease

Productos Alimenticios Santillana


Asamura Patent Office

Agrovet Market

Moeller, Gomez, Lince & Cia.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Berenato & White

Masco Corporation

Knobble Martens

The Concept Law Group

Guang Zhou Xibin Trading Co

Industrias Laford

Work highlights

  • Assisted Kikkoman in modifying the information pertaining to the trademark registration regarding its soy sauce, presenting the documents and registration of the trademark worldwide to argue that the trademark must be protected, and successfully completing the registration confirmation.
  • Hired by Gold Star Tobacco to file a criminal complaint against an individual illegally distributing and selling counterfeit products of Gold Star Charcoal in violation of the trademark rights of the company.
  • Assisting Senninger since 2020 with the registry of their Wobbler patents, trademarks and trade names, and also handled the cancellation process of an existing registry of Senninger Irrigation’s trade name which was registered by a non-related third party.

Guzmán Ariza is the only national law firm in the Dominican Republic, with seven offices strategically located to serve clients in every major business and tourism centre in the country. The firm is client-oriented and offers a full range of services, across a wide variety of practice areas, through the best team of multilingual lawyers.

Our practices have earned us a reputation in the local and international business community as a respected and trusted firm that produces results.

We are internationally connected. As members of SCG Legal and GGI Geneva Group International — we are able to assist clients effectively in international transactions throughout the world.

Main areas of practice
Corporate: Guzmán Ariza has extensive experience counselling clients in all stages of their business ventures in the Dominican Republic, the largest economy of Central America and the Caribbean. The team of lawyers advise local and international clients in organizing start-ups, managing risks while growing in the market, incorporating new partners, seeking funding for expanding operations, bankruptcy and restructuring procedures or just helping them to comply with all local laws that relate to doing business in the Dominican Republic.

Real estate: Guzmán Ariza’s Dominican real estate department is unsurpassed in its skill, experience and geographical reach. Real estate lawyers work as a cohesive team with other disciplines, including tax, financing, environment, and litigation to ensure that all issues which could impact a transaction are properly and thoroughly addressed.

Mergers and acquisitions: Guzmán Ariza is actively involved in complex corporate transactions in which whole, or portions of businesses, are transferred, divested or restructured. Members of the corporate team include two partners with both law and MBA degrees, as well as in-house tax and accounting counsels, which generally results in smooth transactions with less time spent on due diligence and negotiations.

Banking, finance and securities: The firm’s expert team of attorneys advises international financial institutions, as well as companies seeking traditional or alternative sources of funds, in the negotiation, structuring, documentation and execution of all types of financial transactions related to the industry.

Project finance: The firm has deep expertise in advising clients in any type of financing transaction involving large infrastructure and industrial projects, regardless of the role its clients may play in them.

The firm has a comprehensive team of experts in corporate law, taxation, banking and finance, securitization, restructurings, and other legal disciplines, ready to efficiently and securely put together all kinds of transactions in project finance.

Tourism : The attorneys at the firm have extensive experience providing counsel and all legal services needed for any tourism-related activity in the Dominican Republic and offer clients “area-specific” advice, as well as counsel on the regulatory framework and incentives through the CONFOTUR Law, applicable to all business activities and transactions within the industry.

Foreign investment, international trade: Guzmán Ariza offers a wide range of services to clients in international trade and investment. The firm’s lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to advise clients on trade agreements, double taxation and international conventions involving the Dominican Republic.

Litigation: The firm has a large team of lawyers with extensive litigation and arbitration experience to handle all disputes its clients may find themselves involved in before local courts, once all negotiations and alternative solutions have been explored, expended or discarded.

Environment, climate change: Guzmán Ariza advises clients on all environmental regulatory, compliance and transactions required for the development of projects in the country. The attorneys help clients with the structuring, financing and implementation of the projects, as well as all transfer, operation and restructuring agreements related to them.

The lawyers counsel local and foreign companies and individuals in different industries and practices, including among others; taxation, PPP, infrastructure, cinema, sports, energy, mining, trusts, wealth preservation, manufacturing, food and beverage.

Other offices: Bávaro – Punta Cana, Sosúa – Puerto Plata, Las Terrenas, La Romana – Casa de Campo, Samaná, Cabrera.

Commercial and Corporate Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Commercial and Corporate Alberto Reyes-Bá
Real Estate Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Real Estate Julio Brea-Guzmá
Real Estate César Calderó
Finance (project finance/banking/insurance/securities) Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Finance (project finance/banking/insurance/securities) Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Mergers and Acquisitions Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Mergers and Acquisitions Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Litigation and Arbitration Fabio J Guzmá
Litigation and Arbitration Rhadaisis
Litigation and Arbitration Julio Brea-Guzmá
Foreign Investment Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Foreign Investment Alberto Reyes-Bá
Tourism and Hospitality Julio Brea-Guzmá
Tourism and Hospitality Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Taxation Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Taxation Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Construction Alberto Reyes-Bá
Construction César Calderó
Labour and Employment Rubén J Garcí
Labour and Employment Rhadaisis
Energy and Environment Fabio Guzmán-Saladí
Energy and Environment Giselle Pérez-Reyes E:
Sports and Entertainment Alfredo Guzmán-Saladí
Sports and Entertainment Rubén J Garcí
César Calderón photoMr César CalderónReal Estate and Condominium Law; Tourism and Hospitality; Corporate and Business Law;…
Rhadaisis Espinal photoMrs Rhadaisis EspinalCivil, Commercial and Real Estate Litigation; Contracts and Torts, Banking.
Rubén García photoMr Rubén GarcíaReal Estate Law; Labor & Employment Law; Corporate and Business; Banking and…
Alfredo Guzmán photoMr Alfredo GuzmánCorporate and Business; Real Estate and Condominium Law; Mergers and Acquisitions; Project…
Fabio J Guzmán Ariza photoMr Fabio J Guzmán ArizaLitigation and Arbitration, Real Estate and Condominium Law, Corporate and Business Law,…
Fabio J Guzmán-Saladín photoMr Fabio J Guzmán-SaladínCorporate and Business; Mergers and Acquisitions; Project Finance; Banking, Insurance and Securities;…
Alberto Reyes photoMr Alberto ReyesCorporate and Business; Mergers and Acquisitions; International Trade and Investments; Litigation and…
Other fee-earners : 45 lawyers plus 9 other free earners
Total staff : 125
SCG Legal
Geneva Group International (GGI)
Partners : 8

Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic has been the fastest-growing economy in the region since 2014. With a population of 10.8 million inhabitants and a GDP of $85.5 billion USD, it is the tenth largest economy in Latin America and the largest in the Caribbean region.

The Dominican economy, formerly dependent on the export of agricultural commodities, mainly sugar, cocoa and coffee, has transitioned successfully in the last decades to a well-diversified mix mainly comprised of services, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, real estate and trade. The service sector accounts for almost 60% of GDP and includes the tourism, telecommunications and finance industries. This year, the country experienced continued dynamic growth within key economic sectors, including construction, agriculture, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, transportation and local manufacturing, with inflation holding relatively steady from previous years.

International trade has also been growing increasingly each year between the country and its most important trading partners: The United States, China, Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Brazil, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Jamaica and Cuba.

According to the International Monetary Fund, growth in the Dominican Republic in 2019 is projected to close at 5.0%, increasing to 5.2% in 2020.


The country has taken important steps to ensure that education, business, and the legal environment continue to improve and rise up to meet global standards.

  • The recently amended securities market law and its regulations, approved by the National Stock Market Council this year, will have a great impact in the strengthening of corporate governance and operational transparency.
  • One of the most important laws recently enacted was the anti-illegal trade, smuggling and counterfeiting of regulated products law. This law reinforces the system and strengthens the mechanisms that prevent the smuggling of merchandise through customs and the consequent tax evasion that this generates. Its scope includes counterfeiting and smuggling of regulated products such as medicines, hydrocarbons, alcohol, tobacco and its derivatives.
  • Important bills currently under review by the National Congress include the Public-Private Partnerships law, which will serve as an important framework to boost relations between investors and the different government Ministries involved in infrastructure and utilities; also, a customs law; the law of reciprocal guarantees, and guarantees on moveable assets.
  • The government has established an advanced legal framework for disaster risk management and put in place an epidemiologic surveillance system and rapid response mechanism to speed up the detection and management of sanitary risks.
  • The Criminal Justice system leaders have set a key goal to accelerate judicial processes through the “100 Days Challenge,” making it possible for thousands of cases to get solved within the first 100 days.
  • The DR has passed an insolvency law to speed up and reduce the cost of commercial restructuring and has simplified its online business registration. The country, as well, is one of the world’s top 50 economies where trading across borders is easiest.
  • The Dominican Republic made enforcing contracts easier by establishing specialized commercial court divisions and by adopting a framework for mediation and conciliation, including in commercial cases. Starting a business was also made easier by reducing the minimum capital requirement.
  • The government has doubled education spending as a percentage of GDP since 2013 and implemented a series of reforms to improve learning outcomes. The Government has also joined the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project, which provides a platform for countries to share experiences on improving human capital outcomes.
  • In 2019, The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, an insight report from the World Economic Forum, ranked the Dominican Republic as the most improved country in the North and Central America’s subregion, thanks to above-average regional and global improvement on 11 pillars, including Environmental Sustainability and Cultural Resources and Business Travel.


During the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has sought to foster a highly receptive environment for international investors, adopting policies that minimize regulatory obstacles and provide incentives to foreign companies and individuals to bring in capital. As a result, the Dominican Republic has become the primary destination in the Caribbean for foreign investors.

The Dominican Constitution gives equal treatment under the law to foreign and local investors: foreign investors are bound by the same rules and regulations applicable to local investors and can freely hold equity in local businesses and joint ventures, and own real estate.

Legal Framework

The Foreign Investment Law eliminated all barriers formerly imposed on international investments in the Dominican Republic. Investors contributing capital to companies operating in the country are granted unlimited access to all sectors of the economy, except to those related to national security and certain sensitive industries. The government offers assistance to foreign investors through the Center for Exports

and Investment of the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD), and protection by vouching for loans provided by international agencies for significant infrastructure projects in the country.

In the past, the economic areas most benefited by foreign direct investment were free zones, tourism, mining, telecommunications, financial services, agriculture and livestock. At the present time, the country promotes FDI through important incentives in the tourism, renewable energy and the film industry; general incentives for industrial innovation and competitiveness; incentives to investors in free zones, as well as special incentives for border region free zones, international financial free zones, and special incentives for logistic operators.

There are no major restrictions on foreign investment and investors can repatriate their profits and capital.


The Dominican Republic is a member of the World Trade Organization and has received preferred treatment. The country has access to the United States through the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which was an extension of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Preferred Generalized System GSP. Along with the trade agreements the country has signed, it offers international investors and local producers unprecedented free-trade access to the two largest markets in the world: The European Union and the United States. Few other countries benefit from such a privileged situation.

  • The Cotonou Agreement with the European Community allows preferential access to Dominican goods without quantitative restrictions.
  • Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) was implemented by the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007.
  • Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a free trade treaty with financing and investment aspects between the European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM, an organization of Caribbean nations. The Dominican Republic entered the EPA on October 15, 2008.
  • Free Trade Agreement with CARICOM, signed in 1998 and ratified by the Dominican Republic in February 2001, this agreement involves the Dominican Republic and 20 Caribbean nations (CARICOM), and establishes free trade zones in the region along WTO guidelines. The free trade agreement between the Dominican Republic and CARICOM coexists with free trade agreement between the Caribbean nations and the European Union (EPA).
  • Free Trade Agreement with Central America came into effect in 2001. This agreement coexists with DR-CAFTA, which incorporates several of the provisions of the former. Although a regional treaty, it is in fact, a bilateral agreement between each Central American country and the Dominican Republic. The agreement provides for free trade in all products originating in the region, except those registered in a “negative list.”
  • A Partial Free Trade Agreement with Panama was implemented in 2003.


Foreign companies may conduct business in the Dominican Republic by setting up a branch office, incorporating a local subsidiary or acquiring the shares of an existing Dominican company.

Shareholders, partners, members, officers and directors of a Dominican company do not need to be Dominican citizens or residents, except in very special circumstances.

Business Entities in the Dominican Republic

Corporations are best suited for large businesses with many shareholders where protecting minority interests is important. They are the only entities that can raise capital through public stock offerings.

Simplified Corporations are best for medium to large-sized businesses that require special shareholder provisions for corporate governance purposes. Simple Corporations cannot raise capital through public stock offerings, but are able to issue debt instruments to the public.

Limited Liability Companies are ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, and are the most commonly-used legal entity in the Dominican Republic. LLC’s cannot raise capital through public offerings.

Common vs. Preferred Shares

All companies can issue common shares and preferred shares. Preferred shares may grant the shareholder the right to a fixed dividend or a fixed percentage of profits, or both at the same time, as well as priority rights over the company capital in case of liquidation.

Shares in Foreign Currency

The value of company shares as well as its capital can be stated in foreign currency.

Formation Process

Regardless of the type of business entity, the company formation process involves five basic steps: registration of the company name; preparation and signature of company documents, such as the company bylaws or articles of incorporation; payment of the incorporation tax; registration of the company documents at the business registry and company registration at the internal revenue agency.

Annual Meetings

All Dominican companies as well as foreign ones registered to do business in the country must hold an annual shareholders’ meeting to review the company’s operation during the previous year. Minutes of this meeting must be recorded at the Business Registry.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Dominican company law contemplates different business combinations allowing companies to gain control over one another. Mergers and acquisitions are freely negotiated and carried out by the companies involved, except in case of public corporations or companies in certain regulated industries, such as electricity, telecommunications, banking, and insurance, in which it is mandatory to have the merger or acquisition approved by the pertinent regulatory agency.

Joint Ventures

Joint ventures in the Dominican Republic generally consist of a contractual arrangement between two or more existing business entities for the purpose of carrying out a particular project or task. The joint venture itself is not a legal person nor enjoys limited liability unless a new business entity is formed according to Dominican company law.


The main taxes affecting businesses in the Dominican Republic are income tax; capital gains tax; goods and services tax; excise tax; real estate tax and tax on company assets.

Withholdings at the source

The following disbursements made by companies are subject to withholdings: payment to employees; payments abroad; dividends; rentals; fees for services and commissions.

Anti-Avoidance Rule

Based on the substance over form doctrine, the Dominican Tax Code has a general anti avoidance provision through which the Dominican Internal Revenue Service (DGII) may ignore the existence of legal entities or certain transactions if used to secure an unwarranted tax advantage.

Transfer Pricing Rules

The Dominican Republic has established transfer pricing rules modeled on guidelines issued by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

These rules will apply when a resident company or individual enters into a commercial or financial operation with a related company, or companies or individuals that are domiciled in States or Territories with preferential tax systems (low or zero taxation) or blacklisted jurisdictions, regardless of whether they are related or not. Companies must file with the DGII an annual information return on transactions subject to transfer pricing

Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States and Dominican Republic’s DGII have an agreement to exchange bilateral financial and tax information as part of the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010. The Dominican Republic and the United States have reached a reciprocal intergovernmental agreement (IGA) by which Dominican financial institutions report all FATCA-related information to DGII, which then report it to the IRS and vice versa.

Double Taxation Treaties

The Dominican Republic has signed and ratified two double taxation treaties: with Canada and Spain. The treaty with Canada only covers income taxes. The treaty with Spain deals with income and capital gains taxes only.



Labor relationships in the Dominican Republic are governed by the Dominican Labor Code (Law 16-92), which is characterized by its strong protection of the rights of employees.

Dominican labor laws are territorial in nature. Any work carried out on Dominican soil is subject to the provisions of the Dominican Labor Code irrespective of the nationality or residence of the parties involved.

Dominican labor laws are mandatory to the parties in an employment contract and employees cannot waive any rights that would lessen their benefits under the Labor Code. Any such waiver is automatically considered null and void.

Employee Nationality

At least 80% of a company’s work force must be Dominican. Likewise, no less than 80% of the payroll, with the exception of salaries for technical or executive positions, must correspond to wages earned by Dominicans. These rules do not apply to employees carrying out executive or managerial duties, or occupying technical positions for which there is no available Dominican substitute.


Wages are freely negotiated between the employer and the employee but cannot be less than the minimum salary established by the National Salary Committee, a dependency of the Ministry of Labor, and vary according to business size or industry type. Gratuities or tips are not considered part of the salary.

Christmas Salary

In addition to a regular salary, every employee in the Dominican Republic receives, on or before December 20, a “Christmas salary,” equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of the total regular salary earned during the year excluding tips, overtime and benefits received from profit sharing. The Christmas salary is exempt from income tax.

Profit Sharing

Employers must share 10% of their annual pretax profits, if any, with their employees. If the company is profitable, payment to the employees must be made within a 90 to 120-day period after the end of the company’s fiscal year. Businesses in free trade zones, and agricultural, industrial, forestry and mining companies during the first three years of operation, do not have to share profits with their employees.


Termination implies a permanent break in the employment contract. Several types of termination are contemplated under the Dominican Labor Code. The most common being at will termination (desahucio); for cause termination by the employer (despido); for cause termination by the employee (dimisión); and termination due to incapacity or death of the employee.

Maternity protection

The Labor Code provides special protection for employees who are pregnant or have recently given birth. At will termination by the employer is strictly forbidden during the pregnancy of the employee and up to three months after the birth of her child. For-cause termination during a pregnancy nor within the six months following childbirth is allowed without the prior authorization of the labor authorities. Noncompliance is penalized with the equivalent of five months’ salary, in addition to the standard severance payment.

Withholdings by the Employer

Employers must deduct Income tax and Social Security from the wages of their employees and disburse them to the government within the first three days of the month following that in which wages were paid. The Dominican Social Security system contemplates three types of assistance: health insurance, occupational risk insurance and incapacity or retirement fund. The system is funded by a percentage of employees’ salaries made by both employee and employer contributions in established proportions.

Relocation of Foreign Workers

Depending on the time period an employee will be working in the Dominican Republic, companies wishing to relocate them to the country are required to obtain a temporary residency for work purposes which is renewable and issued for a one-year period, or a short-stay permit, granted for periods ranging from two to eleven months.