SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Alberto Baco, Puerto Rico’s secretary of economic development and commerce, summarized initiatives and economic development strategies recently implemented as part of Puerto Rico’s economic development plan, at the 14th annual Wall Street summit organized by the New America Alliance (NAA).
"The Puerto Rico economic development team is focused on one vision: to build on Puerto Rico’s strengths, creativity and innovative spirit to diversify our economic base. Today, Puerto Rico is undergoing another historic economic transformation, fueled by strategically targeted investment incentives, the new realities of the global economy, and our unique status as a US jurisdiction," said Baco.
He explained that "a key element of the island’s economic development plan is to strategically encourage foreign direct investment and jobs across the different industries and economic segments. We are leveraging the unique benefits of our jurisdiction to promote business growth, both internationally and locally. Business growth means a good economy, which means jobs and opportunity, and a better life for all Puerto Ricans."
Baco emphasized that Puerto Rico has the human capital, strategic location, bicultural background, legal protections, infrastructure and natural resources; as well as the most attractive incentives for companies and investors available in the region. He added that the Puerto Rico’s incentives provide an aggressive service platform which firms can leverage to enhance operational efficiencies and better serve their client bases. These include Acts 20, 22, 273 and 399, strategically planned to meet the specific needs of organizations and individual investors.
"Our tax incentives are positioning Puerto Rico as a global hub for the export of services. This year alone, more than 400 companies have applied to establish operations through Act 20, which offers tax incentives to service-based organizations that conduct services for clients off the island," he added.
A new economic transformation
Baco explained that Puerto Rico is currently undergoing a second economic transformation. The first transformation, which started in the 1950s with "Operation Bootstrap," took Puerto Rico from a struggling agrarian economy into a regional manufacturing powerhouse.
He indicated that a vital aspect of the new transformation is pursuing and developing niche markets, such as the aerospace industry. Recently, Puerto Rico added a key player to its established aerospace ecosystem by partnering with Lufthansa Technik for the creation of a new aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility on the island. Meanwhile, Infosys announced plans to make a $9 million investment on the local economy, joining companies like Honeywell and UTC Aerospace in the island’s new aerospace cluster.
Baco also indicated that the local government has been very active with promotions efforts in Europe and Latin America, which include the opening of commercial offices in Colombia and Peru.
"Puerto Rico can partner with companies from Latin America and Europe that want to establish strong commercial relationships with the United States. We provide ease of access to the US market, the convenience of US currency, the contractual, regulatory and other protections of the US law, along with the benefits of our well established and legally protected foreign tax structure," he explained.