The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association is preparing to mark its 85th anniversary during this year’s annual convention, when it will focus on ramping up its search for solutions to the island’s development and competitiveness challenges.
“During the recession of the past few years, the PRMA has been working hard to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to remain afloat, contributing to job creation and economic development,” said Waleska Rivera, president of the trade group during a press conference Tuesday.
“We’ll mark 85 years by presenting solutions to help the island break the deadlock, by opening dialogue and building partnerships. This year, we’ll dedicate the convention to the in depth discussions of the issues that affect us all, to create economic development and create the jobs we need,” said Rivera, of the convention that will take place May 30-June 2 in Fajardo.
Over the years, the PRMA has been actively lobbying for issues “that benefit development and competitiveness,” Rivera said.
“From the struggles over Law 73 related to tax incentives, to the battle for true energy reform, to the resistance against maritime shipping fee increases, to the imposition of the 4 percent tax on foreign corporations, and the 10-point tactical plan to promote the development of the island, we have faced issues head-on on behalf of the island’s welfare,” she said.
Convention track includes local, stateside panelists
Local and stateside government leaders will be on hand for the convention, as well as keynote speakers who will address vital issues to the island’s economy. The agenda calls for a mix of educational and networking opportunities.
Congressmen Jim Gerlach, (R-PA) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA) — both members of the powerful Ways and Means Committee — along with Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi will discuss the effects of the U.S. tax reform on the island. Meanwhile, a panel including Senate President Eduardo Bhatia and House Speaker Jaime Perelló, will discuss ways to bring Puerto Rico back to economic prosperity.
Many of the issues on the agenda follow up on the PRMA’s institutional 10-point strategy, which will also be the focus of a conversation with Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla.
“In the conversation with the [governor] we’ll discuss critical issues impacting our socio-economic development. Seven leading partners from various sectors will be in charge of presenting the concerns to the governor and our members,” Rivera said.
Meanwhile, another panel is scheduled to discuss Puerto Rico’s energy strategy, particularly the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s plans going forward. College students graduating this year will have the chance to participate in a summit designed to help them connect with manufacturing industry professionals, said Carlos Rodríguez, chairman of the PRMA’s convention committee.