The Island of Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the United States Virgin Islands, with a total geographical area of 3,515 square miles and a population of approximately 3.8 million people. It is affectionately called La Isla del Encanto (The Island of Enchantment) but has recently been the subject of numerous negative reports scaring the wits out of many prospective investors. A high crime rate, unemployment and rising public debt are just a few of the issues affecting the island. Enough to convince anyone to stay away. But is this the reality? Is the island open for business?
During the first week of June, 2014 I had the distinct pleasure of being part of a delegation of 20 residents of Orlando, led by Diana Bolivar, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, who traveled to Puerto Rico on a bilateral commercial trade mission with the purpose of promoting business opportunities between Puerto Rico and Central Florida. Accompanying me in the delegation were successful Central Florida business men and women involved in tourism, construction services, education, healthcare, human resources, public education and the practice of law, as well as Orlando government representatives. During a period of three days we met with Puerto Rico government officials, representatives of the Puerto Rico Products Association and many successful entrepreneurs and business people with whom we exchanged ideas in ways that would allow us to build commercial bridges between Puerto Rico and Central Florida. During these meetings, we were provided with factual information about the island’s economy, infrastructure, foreign business relations, projections for the future, and import/export opportunities showing, contrary to negative publicity, that the “Island of Enchantment” is in fact ready and eager to do business and to aggressively take part in the global economy. Puerto Rico has an open economy and trade has long been a central factor of its economy performance. English and Spanish are spoken everywhere, the U.S. dollar is the official currency, there is political stability and the government is offering numerous incentives, including unheard of tax advantages, to encourage investors to conduct business with them. More importantly, is the quality of the Puerto Rican people who are well educated, have an outstanding intellectual capacity and a strong desire to work for the island. Contrary to the original negative perception we arrived with, all of us left happily impressed with the island. The government of Puerto Rico as well as its residents are working hard and with an unequaled passion to ensure their island’s economic scenario improves, and for Puerto Rico to continue to be the envy of the Caribbean it has always been.
I invite each and every one of you to seriously consider doing business with Puerto Rico. If you are looking for potential growth and new opportunities, this may be the place to go. You will not be disappointed.
There is no doubt Puerto Rico is open for business!
Attorney Ricardo R. Pesquera
Senior Partner - Crews & Pesquera, P.A.
Of Counsel - Pesquera, Cerrud & Birmingham, P.A.