Gov’t: Spain has become ‘essential trading partner’ to Puerto Rico
While Puerto Rico’s primary commercial ally is still the U.S. mainland, Spain has become an “essential trading partner” for the island, said Luis Alemañy, president of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank (EDB), during a recent gathering with the consulate general of Spain and Spain’s Economic and Commercial Office in Puerto Rico.
At the end of fiscal year 2023, Puerto Rico’s exports to Spain reached $3.9 billion, marking a 44% increase from the previous year, with medicines and pharmaceutical products leading the way, Alemañy noted.
“Additionally, we experienced an increase in imports from Spain, totaling more than $304 million in fiscal year 2023. These data reflect the importance of our economic relationship with Spain and the continued growth in our bilateral trade,” Alemañy stated.
The United States receives 72% of Puerto Rico’s exports and 57% of its imports, “but it is important to highlight that our economy is open and influenced by global events. In fact, Europe is in second place in the exchange of merchandise with Puerto Rico,” he said.
The gathering provided Spanish entrepreneurs an opportunity to explore business growth in Puerto Rico and establish key business connections.
“Today’s activity is a magnificent example of the excellent relations that exist between Spain and Puerto Rico. Along with such relevant aspects as culture, education and our common history, we must work to strengthen their economic and commercial component,” said Josep María Bosch-Bessa, Spain’s consul in Puerto Rico. “We have to congratulate ourselves because commercial exchanges between Spain and Puerto Rico are increasing.”
Francisco Millán-Rajoy, chief adviser of Spain’s Economic and Commercial Office in Puerto Rico, stated, “Spanish companies are world leaders in sectors such as infrastructure and renewable energy. The best demonstration of this is the leading role they play in the United States and other countries in the green transition and in the construction and management of infrastructure. I’m convinced that Spanish companies, due to their experience and professionalism, are the best partner that Puerto Rico can have in its reconstruction projects.”
One of the highlights of the event was a special panel focusing on the impact of Spanish companies on small and medium-sized enterprises in Puerto Rico, which included business leaders such as Alemañy as moderator; Millán-Rajoy; Julián Fernández-Rodes, president of Metropistas; and Alexis Sánchez-Geigel, president of MAPFRE Puerto Rico. The panel provided insights into the collaboration and impact between Puerto Rico and Spanish businesses.
“We are honored to be part of this group of executives and to reaffirm our commitment to local companies on the island,” Fernández-Rodes said. “At Metropistas, we firmly believe in collaboration and directing efforts to contribute to Puerto Rico’s development.”
The gathering highlighted the importance of fostering a platform for business growth and international collaboration in Puerto Rico.
The EDB will continue to collaborate closely with this business community to promote economic development, and with other communities established on the island as well, Alemañy added.