The goal of the agreement is to create a NAFTA-like free trade area, which currently includes the United States, Canada and Mexico. CAFTA-DR is also seen as a stepping stone to the free trade agreement, another (more ambitious) free trade agreement that would encompass all South American and Caribbean states, as well as North and Central American countries except Cuba. Canada is negotiating a similar agreement, the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement. Free-form certification of CAFTA-DR manufacturers and exporters and U.S. importers can be used as an alternative to the presentation of the Certificate of Origin when they have ensured that their products meet the requirements of the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement. Once adopted by the countries concerned, tariffs on about 80% of U.S. exports to participating countries were immediately eliminated and the rest was phased out over the next decade. As a result, CAFTA-DR does not require a substantial reduction in U.S. import duties relative to other countries, as the vast majority of products produced in participating countries have already entered the United States duty-free as a result of the U.S. government`s Caribbean Basin initiative.
Under this contract, 103 Dominican products arrive in Panama duty-free. Similarly, the Dominican Republic allows duty-free access to 101 Panamanian products. In addition, there is a list of products manufactured in the free zones or in the export processing area. The regulations provide for the possibility of including more products in free trade. The free trade agreement is between the United States, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, the Northern Triangle and Nicaragua. Each publication contains the United States Harmonized Customs Plan (HTSUS) General Note containing general and specific rules of origin, a list of all products that became duty-free upon entry into force, and the exemption plan for goods that have been released over time. CAFTA-DR requires that tariffs and quotas be managed in a transparent, non-discriminatory, market-compliant and trade-based manner that allows importers to make full use of import quotas. Each Member State will eliminate export subsidies for agricultural products destined for another cafta-DR country.  The overall benefits to the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic characterize CARICOM (free trade agreement between the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Community CARICOM).