The manufacturing industry, responsible for 17% of GDP, expanded by 8.9% in 2000. The total industrial sector accounted for 34% of GDP in 2000.
Including the processing of sugar, food processing represents more than half of the total industrial production. Dominican agriculture was hit hard during the late 1990s by droughts in 1996 and 1997, and a hurricane in 1998, but little effect was seen on the manufacturing sector. The construction sector realized high growth after the arrival of Hurricane Georges in 1998, including in housing, commercial construction, and public works projects. Small plants produce powdered and condensed milk, ceramics, aluminum furniture and fittings, concrete blocks, pipes and tiles, air conditioners, barbed wire, and other products.
Since 1990, free assembly zones have contributed more than3.5% of the GDP, although growth in the free trade zones decreased in 2001. The most active sectors in this industry were related to the processing of clothes and textiles, tobacco, electronics, and shoes. Lack of demand in the US for textiles has resulted in layoffs in that sector, and domestic manufacturing experienced no growth in 2001. The Dominican Republic has two oil refineries, with a total production capacity in 2002 of 49,000 barrels per day.