Puerto Rico’s small and mid-sized businesses have a variety of possibilities for expansion in foreign markets that provide great potential to export their products and achieve greater economic strength and growth, although few have departments currently engaged in foreign trade.
And, exporting is a costly venture for many of these types of businesses, which may also lack experienced staff and experience in managing the necessary paperwork to go global.
Such were some of the conclusions included in a study reveled recently by RGX and MasterCard before a group of local small and mid-sized businesses that received orientation about the tools and practices needed to begin exporting or improve their international business dealings.
Some of the other findings revealed that in Puerto Rico, 70 percent of export and import companies do not have an internal structure dedicated to foreign trade, hindering proper and effective international operations management. It also noted that seven out of 10 local companies operate their contracts by email, with the consequent risk of having it be legally invalid when filing claims according to relevant applicable law.
Ideally, companies should manage their invoices, proposals and agreements via fax, the study showed.
“At MasterCard, we decided to support this study because we want to promote the development of foreign trade, a segment that is extremely important and vital part of the national economy,” said Manuel Catedral, general manager of MasterCard Puerto Rico.
For the company, it is a priority to support this segment as it has the potential to increase Puerto Rico’s draw as a destination for investment, helping to boost the island’s economic and social welfare, stabilizing prices, reducing the unemployment rate and increasing productivity and competitiveness, Catedral said.
To conduct the study, RGX surveyed 200 companies involved in international commerce, doing business in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Puerto Rico. Questions were directed toward export and import managers and international business managers.
“The export of goods and services should be a permanent and continuous activity so that it may contribute to Puerto Rico’s economic development,” Puerto Rico Trade and Export Executive Director Francisco Chévere said. “That’s why we joined the private sector to create initiatives that offer small and medium businesses the tools needed to break into the international market.”
Considering an increasing trend of markets opening to free competition, regional integration and access to information, to name a few factors, competitive frameworks have been redesigned to respond to an increasingly demanding consumer.
“Therefore, Puerto Rican entrepreneurs should further consider exporting products and services as a real alternative to expanding business opportunities,” Chévere said.