The Puerto Rico Statistics Institute unveiled Tuesday the island’s first online centralized database for current and detailed import and export activity that pursues facilitating decision-making on investment and doing business in this market, Statistics Institute Executive Director Mario Marazzi-Santiago said.
The comprehensive information bank includes facts and figures collected since July 2010 and spans hundreds of categories and business activities. The data is available at the agency’s website and is accessible free of charge not only to the local business community, but interested parties in foreign countries.
“For Puerto Rico to leverage the wealth that its ports you can attract in the 21st century, detailed monthly data on its foreign trade needs to be widely available to all users, just as is already the case for the vast majority of countries around the world,” he said during a meeting with members of the local media.
Foreign trade statistics measure the value and volume of goods moving in and out through Puerto Rico’s ports. This information provides an immediate snapshot of the products Puerto Ricans consume and produce.
“We get requests for this type of information at least once a month from people in London, China, Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela, for example, looking for local statistics to decide whether to do business here,” he said. “And for way too long our response to that type of request was to go to the Minillas Government Center in person to collect the data. You can’t say that to somebody who’s in London.”
The new cyber tool allows the user to view imports and exports by detailed product categories and by country of destination/origin.
That said, users can now exactly where Puerto Rico does not export at all or enough to pinpoint areas of opportunity. Furthermore, the data gives businesses looking to enter the market insight into what is arriving to the island, to see where competition is, he said.
To feed the database, the Institute turned to data gathered by U.S. government agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is then organized by the U.S. Census Bureau to prepare detailed statistics on external trade of the United States and Puerto Rico.
The project emerged as an Institute initiative to ensure broader and more agile access to these data, which are essential to measure and understand Puerto Rico’s economy, Marazzi-Santiago said.