Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed Senate Bill 840, which will establish the public policy for the so-called “sharing economy,” which is defined as the collaborative consumption where consumers rent goods and services among themselves.
“This advanced law allows Puerto Rico to have a procedural framework to respond to the local sharing economy quickly, consistently and transparently,” Rosselló said.
Some examples of companies and activities in the sharing economy are Airbnb, Uber, co-working, crowdfunding and couch surfing.
“It also stresses the importance of balancing the public interest and incentivizing new economic activity by protecting industries that are properly established and regulated,” he said.
The measure penned by Sen. Zoé Laboy requires the Department of Economic Development and Commerce to develop — with recommendations and input from a committee that the law will create — the standards and guidelines that reflect the public policy that agencies must consider when developing regulations.
Such regulations must be consistent with the principles provided by the law to tend to the sharing economy, which are based on neutrality, the protection of the general welfare and efficiency when addressing the range of operations that may come from innovation.
The advisory committee will be responsible for advising the Department of Economic Development and Commerce in the assessment, development and implementation of sharing economy regulations, as well as the compliance with the law’s rules and goals, government officials said.
“The sharing economy has ceased to be a novelty, and has become a trend in new business development,” Laboy said
“With this bill we set out to ensure the establishment of appropriate processes for the design and implementation of public policy that encourages the development of Puerto Rico’s sharing economy, without adversely impacting service providers already operating on our island,” Laboy said.
The advisory committee will be chaired by the Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, and will include the Secretary of the Consumer Affairs Department, the Secretary of Labor and Human Resources, the Secretary of State, the executive director of the Puerot Rico Tourism Company, the director of the Municipal Management Office, the Office of Management and Budget and the Chief Innovation officer, or another person appointed by the governor.