Puerto Rico is open for enterprise with Utah, secretary says

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Ricardo Arduengo, Related Press

FILE – On this July 29, 2015 file picture, the Puerto Rican flag flies in entrance of Puerto Rico’s Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Throughout his latest two-day Utah go to, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of the Division of Financial Growth and Commerce convened with different U.S. advocates to ascertain relationships he hopes will likely be of mutual profit within the months and years to come back.

SALT LAKE CITY — Puerto Rico is able to do extra enterprise with Utahns.

That was the message Wednesday from the secretary of Puerto Rico’s Division of Financial Growth and Commerce, who was visiting Salt Lake Metropolis.

“We need to ship the message that Puerto Rico is open for enterprise, funding and for tourism,” stated Manuel Laboy Rivera. “Throughout this transformative second, the federal government of Puerto Rico stands able to associate with traders and companies to be a part of the transformation of the island’s financial system.”

It’s been simply over a 12 months since Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico, leaving the island of three.three million individuals with out energy for weeks, displacing tens of 1000’s of households and disrupting the nation’s financial system. Not too long ago, the U.S. territory acquired encouraging financial information when the Financial Growth Financial institution for Puerto Rico printed its Financial Exercise Index that mirrored a considerable enchancment within the financial system and nation’s treasury reported October income as the very best month-to-month tally in 5 years.

Rivera was in Utah for the State Financial Growth Executives Community convention. The group helps collaboration between prime state financial growth executives on precedence issues, together with offering insights about the right way to measure their success and encourage efficient funding of state {dollars} in financial growth packages.

Rivera stated Puerto Rico wish to work with Utah corporations involved in exploring worldwide markets and need to develop commerce channels within the Caribbean into Latin America. Equally, such relations might open up alternatives for Puerto Rican firms to increase enterprise and commerce on the U.S. mainland, he stated.

“The way in which we see it, Puerto Rico is the pure bridge between the U.S. mainland and Latin America,” Rivera added. “We all know that a whole lot of firms in Utah export services and products. Puerto Rico could be a associate in such export actions.”

He stated a part of the nation’s built-in financial growth plan is to bolster manufacturing — the most important business sector throughout the island’s financial system.

“(Manufacturing) represents 48 p.c of our (gross home product),” he stated. “The profile of our manufacturing sector is excessive expertise, extremely regulated properties — pharmaceutical firms, medical machine firms, biotechnology in addition to aerospace are among the many sectors represented in our profile.”

He famous that incentives have been enacted to draw startups and entrepreneurs based mostly within the “information service sector,” together with working to turn out to be a key supplier in blockchain expertise — a distributed public database that retains a everlasting document of digital transactions.

“Blockchain is near revolutionizing how transactions are being made between governments and the non-public sector and between the non-public sector and people,” Rivera stated. “Puerto Rico is properly positioned to turn out to be a key participant when it comes to the blockchain.”

Throughout his two-day go to, Rivera convened with different financial growth advocates from across the nation to ascertain relationships he hopes will likely be of mutual profit within the months and years to come back.

“We are attempting to unite efforts and techniques to handle widespread (issues) throughout the nation, together with workforce growth, the difficulty related to tariffs and commerce and alternative zones,” he stated. “It was a possibility to debate topics which might be widespread among the many states and the territories.”

He stated the conferences additionally included brainstorming classes geared toward bringing elevated financial growth and enterprise prosperity to territories and states alike. Particularly, he stated discovering methods to create and maintain enterprise partnerships with Utah firms was among the many prime priorities for the island.

Positioned within the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US positioned roughly 1,000 miles southeast of Miami. The island continues to be recovering from the influence of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island simply two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit. Analysts estimate the harm from the storms at $43 billion and presumably greater.

In the meantime, Rivera famous that at the moment, the U.S. authorities is planning to spend roughly $10 billion yearly over the subsequent decade to revive and enhance the island’s infrastructure — about 10 p.c of the nation’s gross home product. The funds will likely be used to reinforce vitality (utilities); water, wastewater and potable water; roads; bridges; ports; telecommunications; and stable waste administration, he stated.

“We’ll even be investing in housing and financial growth tasks,” he stated. “We’re speaking a few large amount of cash that may make an enormous distinction. It’ll be transformative in nature.”

On the difficulty of the island’s standing throughout the American geopolitical material, he helps the thought of Puerto Rican statehood within the not-so-distant future.


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He stated Puerto Rico could be a “beacon of sunshine” for the remainder of Latin America as a brand new state. The present administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosello is supportive of congressional motion to create a referendum for statehood in 2020, he stated.

“We’re a pro-statehood administration,” Rivera stated. “We consider that we should always turn out to be the 51st state. We’ve earned it in lots of, some ways. We’re U.S. residents and one of the simplest ways to safe equal rights and equality as U.S. residents is to turn out to be a state of the union.”

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