Dominican Republic Law Overview

By Arthur & Castillo (info@aclaw.com)

An overview of Dominican Law  allows us to understand why Dominican Republic is the Caribbean‘s leading foreign investment, air and sea transportation, export free zones, and tourism destination.

The main factors which helped Dominican Republic to attain this position are its geo strategic position in the very center of the Caribbean and between the United States Europe, Central and South America, a stable political environment, the country’s natural resources and modern infrastructure, ample foreign investment incentives and virtually no investment, currency exchange and transfer restrictions.

For instance, Dominican Law principles of freedom of enterprise, commerce and industry compatible with freedom of contract and promotion of foreign investment, exports and free trade ensure that domestic and international investors encounter a favorable business and investment climate.

Dominican Law also affords local and foreign entities doing business in the Dominican Republic the same rights and duties. Registration of foreign business entities is required when the foreign entity will pursue local activities, such as hiring employees, signing contracts, opening bank accounts, purchasing vehicles, real estate and others.

According to Dominican Law, companies are subject to the law under which they were formed for fulfilling corporate law requirements, are subject to local accounting, labor, social security, tax and other regulations. General Business Entities Law (Ley 479-08), as amended, as well as tax rulings regulate Dominican business entities as well as the registration of foreign company branches.

The Dominican Labor Code (Ley 16-92) governs all work performed under the subordination of an employer in Dominican Territory. Its principles and regulations follow International Labor Organization (ILO) directives and define labor contracts, modalities, labor standards, employee resignation, dismissal and termination.

General Defense of Competition Law (Ley 42-08) seeks to promote and defend effective competition and commercial good faith for increasing economic efficiency in the goods and services markets for the benefit of consumers and users in Dominican Territory. It defines and sanctions activities considered illegal such as concerted Practices and anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, unfair competition, and is supplemented by Industrial Property Law (Ley 20-00) defining and sanctioning unfair competition linked to the violation of industrial property and company trade secrets.

Business enterprises doing business in Dominican Republic must register in the business register of the chamber of commerce where the company is domiciled. Registration of business entities, corporate resolutions and amendments serve to satisfy public disclosure requirements.

The business registers are open for anyone to inspect any business entity information, whether existing in the business register data or specific corporate documents. Dominican Law considers that Dominican business entities acquire legal personality only after they register before the business register.

Ways of Entering the Dominican Republic

There are two ways to enter and do business in the Dominican Republic: By establishing a separate Dominican business entity (“subsidiary”) or by registering a branch of a foreign company (“branch”).

In addition, business relationships may be set up under a commercial contract in form of a joint venture, agency, distribution or similar agreements that comply with Dominican Republic legal and regulatory requirements, for the recognition and validity of business entities and commercial agreements.

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