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Insight: Puerto Rico’s strategic role in the federal CHIPS and Science Act

In 2022, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, a transformative legislation designed to bolster the U.S. semiconductor industry and foster innovation across various sectors.

The act offers incentives for semiconductor manufacturing and grants to promote research and innovation in diverse industries. Although Puerto Rico currently needs more infrastructure to engage directly in semiconductor manufacturing, we are well-positioned to capitalize on our competitiveness in bioscience and continue to strengthen the sector within the research and innovation side of the law.

To leverage this opportunity, the island’s private and public sectors formed a coalition and presented the PRBio Tech Hub, which seeks to accelerate the discovery, development, manufacturing and supply of biotech products while strengthening our position as a leader in biosciences and technology. The results of these efforts earned us a U.S. Tech Hub designation, along with 31 other states.

This designation recognizes Puerto Rico as a critical component of the nation’s industrial policy, particularly in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Moreover, it opens the door to substantial federal funding. The U.S. Congress has authorized $10 billion to support the 31 designated Tech Hubs, and Puerto Rico is well-positioned to secure a portion of these funds. These resources will enhance workforce training, establish new laboratories and innovation centers, and create capital access programs to attract and retain biotech companies on the island.

While Puerto Rico may not currently be a player in semiconductor manufacturing, there is potential to attract companies related to semiconductor packaging and supply chain. Invest Puerto Rico is pursuing opportunities to attract these companies from the mainland, Asia and Europe, where it makes the most sense based on our current market strengths. This effort takes time and resources but could hold promise for future economic diversification and growth.

The focus of the semiconductor manufacturing push has been on domestic regions that already have existing capacity and where speed to market to expand production is relatively quick. While Puerto Rico was in this industry over 20 years ago, the current landscape has shifted. States like New York and Ohio have invested billions in incentives to attract semiconductor giants like Micron and Intel and have been laying the groundwork for this sector for years.

That said, Puerto Rico’s strategy under the CHIPS and Science Act has been to play to our strengths, focusing on areas where we can excel and achieve tangible results. The designation as a U.S. Tech Hub validates this approach.

Puerto Rico is right on track, leveraging its strengths and strategic initiatives to capitalize on this. As we continue to harness the opportunities presented by the CHIPS and Science Act and the Tech Hub designation, Puerto Rico stands to gain enhanced global competitiveness, attract cutting-edge companies and foster innovation.

This progress clearly signals that Puerto Rico is a prime destination for technological and economic advancement. Indeed, “It’s not what’s next, it’s where,” and Puerto Rico is where innovation and opportunity converge.

Author John Bozek is the director of strategy and research at Invest Puerto Rico.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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