SAN JUAN – As part of the celebration of Manufacturing Week on the island, a group of executives who are experts in the field of local and international manufacturing analyzed on Thursday the challenges and opportunities that Puerto Rico has to position itself and compete for the relocation of companies and products currently in China.
There are 1,730 manufacturing companies operating on the island that contribute over 48 percent of Puerto Rico’s adjusted gross income, creating 74,500 direct jobs and totaling 220,000 between direct, indirect and induced jobs.
Organizations participated in the virtual panel; Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), Puerto Rico Industrial Association, Technical Studies, Pharmaceutical Industrial Association (PIA), Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension (PRiMEX), Cluster of Medical Devices and College of Certified Public Accountants.
The secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, engineer Manuel Laboy Rivera, highlighted in a written communication that “despite the challenges faced by Puerto Rico, the manufacturers established on the Island continue to rely on the specialized workforce produced by the universities in Puerto Rico, the commitment of our professionals and the investment tools that we offer in the Department of Economic Development and Commerce. As a result of teamwork between the government and the private sector, we have achieved the commitment of the United States government to strengthen and increase our manufacturing industry. From 2017 until now, our team at the Development Company has achieved an investment commitment of over 1,400 million dollars, and thousands of jobs created, as well as retained. Given this, Puerto Rico has the opportunity to strengthen this sector and position itself as the main manufacturing center in the Caribbean. We have more than 60 years of experience, a high-tech manufacturing ecosystem, geographic location that plays an important role in terms of connectivity, logistics and supply chain, as well as knowledge and compliance with federal regulations, among others. Without a doubt, the future of manufacturing on Puerto Rican soil is promising. We thank PRiMEX for being a facilitating entity and guiding the various economic sectors in search of supporting the continuation of their operations according to the times ”.
For his part, the president of the Board of Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension (PRiMEX), Felipe Hernández, stressed that for more than fifty years the island has demonstrated the ability to manufacture high quality products in a regulatory environment. “We are currently an international manufacturing center for pharmaceutical products and medical devices that has continued to supply products to the market through hurricanes, earthquakes and a pandemic. Our human resources from the production line to senior management are world-class. We must take the opportunity to review elements that we must improve to maintain and improve our competitiveness in such a way that we retain and grow the industry present on the island ”.
For her part, the president of the Pharmaceutical Industrial Association (PIA), Wendy Perry, highlighted that “For PIA (Pharmaceutical Industry Association) the development and advancement of Puerto Rican talent is part of our strategic pillars; promote our global competitiveness by strengthening our ecosystem. Puerto Rico leads the North American nation with the highest concentration of experts in the pharmaceutical industry, here 12 of the first 20 most used pharmaceutical products are manufactured throughout the world. In Puerto Rico we generate 18,000 direct jobs and 60,000 indirect jobs, a highly educated and specialized workforce where 75% have a university degree. PIA has worked and collaborated with INDUNIV the academy in the implementation of initiatives such as educational scholarships, internships, summer camps, rotations in the facilities, workshops with graduates, among others. She has also supported the creation of high-demand baccalaureate programs and concentrations in our industry. Our specialized talent is the engine of our industry ”.
The Industrial Association has participated throughout the years in the annual celebration of Manufacturing Week. “We once again joined forces with PRIMEX, the DDEC and other organizations to highlight the impact of manufacturing on the lives of all Puerto Ricans and on the economy of our island. Manufacturing has been, is and will be the main engine of economic development in Puerto Rico, representing more than 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. We are very pleased to participate in this event where students and the general public are given the opportunity to see first-hand the value of this important sector and to open their eyes to the opportunities that manufacturing presents, ”said the president of the Industrial Association, Carlos Rodríguez.