Puerto Rico is bridge to U.S. and LatAm for Spanish investment, official says


Puerto Rico’s government is pushing a strategic plan to transform the Caribbean island into an “investment bridge” from Spain to the United States and Latin America and is offering fiscal and legal incentives to Spanish investors, Puerto Rican Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce Alberto Baco said in an interview with Efe.

The new administration of Gov. Alejandro Padilla intends to reorient the Puerto Rican economy toward foreign services, mainly in the banking sector, securities, engineering and computer technology, Baco said.

The aim is to internationalize the island’s economy, which is fundamentally based on the manufacturing sector, and create a platform for foreign firms wanting to export their services to North America and for local companies who wish to break into the European market.

Baco, on a visit to Madrid to meet with Spanish businessmen, said that Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. commonwealth but maintains its fiscal independence, will invest up to $300 million in the tourist industry, “specializing in sports, culture and adventure” tourism.

The opening in May of the new Air Europa route between Madrid and San Juan could also increase tourist traffic by some 200 percent, Baco said, adding that Iberia could return to the Puerto Rican market.

“We are at the outset of conversations with Iberia and they would be welcome. There is a business niche for both airlines,” Baco said, adding that Iberia was present in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years.

Puerto Rico’s government is scheduled to invest $100 million in the areas of biotechnology and information technology, mostly with an eye toward strengthening the pharmaceutical industry on the island, where the 10 most important firms in the sector are located, the official said.

Trade between Spain and Puerto Rico is rather sparse and in 2012 the Caribbean island exported $875 million worth of goods and services to Spain. EFE

–Courtesy of Fox News Latino

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