Dominican Republic - Domestic trade

Santo Domingo is the principal port and commercial center, while Santiago de los Caballeros is the market and distribution center for the Cibao Valley. Most importing and exporting firms are located in Santo Domingo. Importers ordinarily represent numerous foreign manufacturers.

Department stores and supermarkets are increasing in number, but most retail stores are specialty shops. Groceries, meat, and fish are sold in most cities through a large central market, by neighborhood stores, and by street vendors. Retail credit is granted by larger stores and automobile dealers.

Though agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of producing goods for domestic consumption, about 59% of work force is employed in the service sector (1998 est.). The domestic economy has shifted to rely on developing tourism, which accounts for about $1.5 billion in annual earnings. Remittances from expatriates living in the United States also account for about $1.5 billion of the domestic economy.

Usual business hours are from 8:00 AM to noon and from 1:00 to 5:00 PM , Monday through Friday, and from 8 AM to noon on Saturday. Government offices are open weekdays from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM . Banks are open from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM , Monday through Friday. Advertising media include television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and outdoor displays. Most businessmen speak English, but Spanish is preferred.

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