General Biz News

Puerto Rican builders looking to LatAm for growth

The construction sector is one of Puerto Rico's key economic indicators.  (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual) The construction sector is one of Puerto Rico’s key economic indicators. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Large scale exports of local building services to Latin America may soon be a reality for hundreds of Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, as countries such as Peru and Colombia are interested in developing infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships worth billions that could be served from the island.

To help move things along, the Puerto Rico State Department and the Inter-American Development Bank are organizing a gathering of developers, engineers and related companies to offer first-hand insight on international building requirements, during the Conference for Opportunities in Latin America for the Construction Industry to be held Nov. 12-13 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

“Few countries in Latin America have built more per square footage over the past 20 years than Puerto Rico. This accumulated knowledge is a very valuable asset in the emerging markets in Latin America,” said Puerto Rico Secretary of State David Bernier.

“The ability and expertise of our construction professionals is unquestionable. Achieving a combined platform between local private and public sector to facilitate the approach to emerging markets in the region will open up many opportunities. This first event is an important step in that direction, “said Bernier.

Present at the event will be officials from the ministries of infrastructure of Colombia and Peru who will present their projects and plans for public works investment for years to come. Peru, for example, expects high economic activity after successfully securing the venue to celebrate the 2019 Pan American Games. Colombia, meanwhile, is to bring to auction some 40 infrastructure projects, representing a combined investment of $25 billion.

“In addition, the Development Bank of Latin America indicates that to make possible their aspirations, the region must invest $250 billion in infrastructure. There are undoubtedly many opportunities opening up around us and we have to be part of them,” Bernier said.

These opportunities come just as the construction industry in Puerto Rico has been decreasing due to the current economic crisis, with a 32 percent drop in new home sales. The export of construction services is one of the options to strengthen the industry, executives have said.

Edgar Rodríguez, president of the Puerto Rico College of Engineers and Surveyors stressed the importance of the event to guide those wishing to export services and make the process simpler and more attainable.

“This is a unique and necessary door that’s opening for us, but since one must know how to operate and connect in each of these countries, the IDB is a valuable tool that can facilitate the process,” Rodriguez said.

The two-day conference will offer give entrepreneurs interested in exporting services to Latin America a chance to participate in one-on-one meetings with key to facilitators in the negotiations.

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