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PRMA, trade groups to pick up Section 933A lobbying efforts

Puerto Rico's private sector is putting up a united front to lobby for incentives for the island.

A delegation composed by members of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association and other trade groups belonging to the Private Sector Coalition is heading to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with 18 Congressional leaders to continue lobbying for the adoption of Section 933A of the Internal Revenue Code.

The PRMA is leading this initiative involving representatives of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, the Pharmaceutical Industry Association of Puerto Rico and the Bankers Association. The group did not reveal who they will meet with and how long their visit will last.

In September 2011, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi submitted in Congress H.R. 3020, the Puerto Rico Investment Promotion Act, proposing the creation of Section 933A that would authorize — but not require — Puerto Rico corporations that earn at least 50 percent of their income on the island to elect to become domestic U.S. companies. In doing so, the companies would essentially receive the same federal tax treatment that Puerto Rico individuals receive under current law.

PRIPA, as the proposal is known, has received bi-partisan support as well as backing from the island’s public, private and labor groups, who agree it is a way to incentivize investment in the island and create jobs.

“The approval of Section 933A — proposed last year by a multi-sector contingent of public, private and labor sector representatives — is key to Puerto Rico’s economic development, said William Riefkohl, executive vice president of the PRMA. “All of he sectors we represent are deeply concerned with the sober outlook for the economy of Puerto Rico, so we are joining forces to support this common goal.

It had been more than 15 years since the island’s private sector got involved in an initiative such as this, visiting Congress with “a common goal to benefit Puerto Rico,” said Roberto Monserrate, deputy executive vice president of the PRMA.

“This gives us a unique opportunity for Congress to hear directly from Puerto Rico’s private sector, particularly in manufacturing, some suggestions that could be adapted to the tax reform that is being addressed in Congress to offer multinational companies options to maintain and create jobs on American soil,” Monserrate noted.

The PRMA and the Coalition believe that by working together it is possible to turn Puerto Rico into the point of entry for billions of dollars from the profits generated by U.S. companies currently residing in other more economically developed countries.

“Job creation throughout the nation and Puerto Rico is the priority of President Obama and Congress, which is why we believe that it is a concrete measure that solves problems and has better possibilities. The important thing is to keep the dialogue alive in Congress,” Riefkohl said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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