The Puerto Rico Minority Supplier Development Council will present a proposal to the Congressional Task Force outlining a new economic model guaranteeing the reactivation of the island’s manufacturing sector through purchases from minority businesses, the nonprofit’s Chairman, José Ríos-Nieves said Tuesday.
The proposal has the support of the Puerto Rico Private Sector Coalition and should be ready by early next month, he said.
“In June, the PRMSDC’s board passed a resolution to share a study the Council conducted last year with the Inter American University, which assessed the feasibility and merits of transforming our economic model through the use of certified suppliers minority products and services, said Ríos-Nieves.
The group also seeks to “formalize” its recommendation to develop and implement the concepts of industrial zone and sub zones in Puerto Rico.
“In addition, we recommended pooling our strategies to the proposals that the Private Sector Coalition is presenting. The Board approved sharing the study with the Industry Coalition provided it was approved by the National Minority Development Council,” he said.
Among the new economic model’s goals are to establish “free-trade zones” to attract multinational companies that currently have operations in different countries around the world. For years, multinationals have enjoyed very competitive cost structures in those destinations.
Puerto Rico could compete more effectively by offering a more attractive scenario that provides those multinationals with access to a sustainable value chain, which is the local industry, he said.
For this, the Council will be conducting a study to determine: what Puerto Rico needs to establish to compete with the various “free-trade zones” that have been developed in different countries; and decide that the island needs to implement to be attractive when compared with other countries.
The major criterion for the establishment of these companies on the island will be the development of a comprehensive procurement plan from certified minority suppliers.
If this mechanism is implemented, multinational companies would be able to develop their operations cost-effectively as long as they commit to this investment in the island through its purchases from minority suppliers, he said.
Ríos-Nieves said it is important that the outlined strategy can be replicated in the U.S. mainland, particularly in any area with a special situation by natural disaster or fiscal crisis like the one Puerto Rico is currently facing.