Members of Puerto Rico’s manufacturing sector, whose contributions to the local economy represent 57% of the Commonwealth’s adjusted gross income, reiterated their commitment to the island, jointly with the government.
During a roundtable discussion, several public and private entities — the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, Medtronic, Quesos Vaca Negra, EngiWorks, Valcor Puerto Rico, Estudios Técnicos, Invest Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension (PRiMEX) — discussed issues such as competitiveness, investment, growth, exports, small businesses issues, as well as challenges and opportunities.
“The impact of the manufacturing sector on Puerto Rico’s economy has no comparison. Its economic contribution to the public coffers is greater than 50% of the budget and is the sector with the highest multiplier effect in creating well-paid jobs,” PRMA President Carlos M. Rodríguez said.
“We’re confident that if we work together, the government and private sector, we can address issues affecting our competitiveness and we can promote the growth of this important sector. That is our commitment,” he said.
Puerto Rico’s manufacturing sector comprises 1,730 companies that account for about 57% of Puerto Rico adjusted gross income, creating 74,500 direct jobs and 220,000 total jobs between direct, indirect and induced.
Felipe Pérez, chairman of PRiMEX, said “the manufacturing sector has been and remains the backbone of the economy of Puerto Rico, PRiMEX continues to support this sector, providing assistance to small and medium businesses, improving processes, training personnel and improving company performance.
For Felix Negrón, vice president of operations for Medtronic, certain aspects such as quality, innovation, technology, competitiveness and talent are fundamental for the success of small, medium and large enterprises.
“We have to work on being solid on the fundamentals, which for me means having products of quality and excellence,” he said.
“That has to be the base. We need to work together with our corporations and government to foster having a constant cycle of new products through our plants, which is what we call innovation and we have to do this in a framework where we can show that we are competitive with the rest of the world,” Negrón said.
For his part, Estudios Técnicos Chairman José Joaquín Villamil said, “we must think about the society we want and how we achieve it. If we don’t know where we want to go, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to find the best way.”