US Census Bureau shows 9% increase of exports in Puerto Rico
US Census Bureau statistics show that in 2021, total exports from Puerto Rico were $18.2 billion, 9% more than the $16.6 billion from 2020, and most of the product classifications had pharmaceutical components.
The Puerto Rico District Export Council (PR-DEC), an organization grouping business leaders of who work on a voluntary basis to educate and mentor entrepreneurs and train them on export matters believe that an increase of outbound activity will happen again because of the “normalization” that is happening after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Next year, if another major situation doesn’t happen, we believe that yes, there will be a greater increase in exports, there are many projects and a lot of interest for services in Puerto Rico and, we’re even working on a possible visit from the U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary, Marisa Lago”, to Puerto Rico in February 2023,” said José Burgos, executive secretary of the PR-DEC.
The PR-DEC has seen that when offering services and helping local businesses expand outside of the island, they stumble upon some that are not ready to export, and do not know their approximate exporting cost, PR-DEC President Hugo Lasso said.
“Many times, they approach us, but they don’t have much presence on digital platforms and before starting any process to export themselves, they must have a basic digital domain,” said Burgos.
“They must also have a good financial statement of the company, because at the beginning you must invest, and there will be some expenses, but our purpose is to put them in contact with the key person, so that they can do business and not waste time,” said Burgos.
Additionally, because of the sudden increase in water and electricity services, as well as constant power outages the island has been experiencing, the organization explained that operations “tend to be more expensive and with time, could mean losing competitiveness in the market.”
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity’s website, “in August 2022, Puerto Rico exported $1.7 billion and imported $2.5 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of $774 million.”
To help Puerto Rico’s exports market, the PR-DEC has been working on creating alliances with entities like the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, and the United Retailers Association (CUD, in Spanish).
“We’re working to develop an event for next year that is focused on Puerto Rico’s international trade to address issues of logistics, transportation, market research, legal issues, such as contracts, insurance issues, among others,” said Lasso.
“We’re trying to make it, in a very active way to develop a network with other organizations that have a weight in local entrepreneurs so that Puerto Rico continues to be known,” said Lasso.
In August the PR-DEC was working with the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company on a trade mission in Colombia, and in 2023, they will be working on their next mission in Mexico.