The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. marked Thursday its 71st anniversary with an event coordinated by agency employees and dedicated to its first Executive Director, Teodoro Moscoso.
“We’re really proud to celebrate Pridco’s 71 years of development, but it fills me greater satisfaction that with this celebration, we’re honoring who I consider one of my mentors. To be able to share this celebration with the children and grandchildren of the architect of ‘Operation Bootstrap,’ a figure so important for the island and for myself, is a real treat,” said Economic Development Secretary Alberto Bacó-Bagué.
With this anniversary, Pridco commemorated its “history and legacy of economic transformation with a vision aimed at reviving Puerto Rico’s economy, diversifying our industrial base and expanding promotional efforts to make Puerto Rico a global center of export services.”
Pridco was created through Law 188 of May 11, 1942 to raise the necessary infrastructure to establish manufacturing companies on the island, namely industrial parks and buildings. Meanwhile, Law 423 of May 14, 1950 created the now defunct Economic Development Administration that successfully ran the “Operation Bootstrap” industrialization program to transform Puerto Rico’s economic model between the 1950s and 1960s.
That program took flight after Luis Muñoz-Marín was elected governor in 1948, under Moscoso’s oversight. The initiative provided the foundation for Puerto Rico’s transformation from an agricultural society into a highly industrialized one. Moscoso had unprecedented success in attracting capital investments from all over the world.
History notes that between 1950 and 1970, Puerto Rico became the “miracle of the Caribbean” due to the rapid economic progress it experienced, described by The Economist as “a century of economic development … achieved in a decade.”Teodoro Moscoso’s granddaughter, Patricia Moscoso-Margueron (right) shakes hands with Antonio Medina (left) and Alberto Bacó (center) during the event.
Pridco’s work to attract direct foreign investment has been studied and emulated by governments in countries such as Mexico, Singapore and Ireland. To date, many of the world’s economies has an extensive range of promotional agencies dedicated to attracting direct foreign investment.
“What Puerto Rico is today we owe to the efforts of this agency that today I am honored to lead, and the legacy he left Don Teodoro,” said Pridco Executive Director Antonio Medina-Comas.
Manufacturing makes up 48 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product. Pridco promotes some 1,300 foreign, U.S. and local companies, which generate approximately 77,000 direct jobs and 99 percent of exports. In recent years, the sector has significantly reduced its scope after the elimination of tax benefits that, while in effect, attracted and kept dozens of major manufacturing plants on the island for decades.