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WH focuses on P.R. with Obama visit, Task Force summit

President Barack Obama will be landing on Puerto Rican soil at around noon next Tuesday, keeping the promise he made two years ago during a primary campaign stop on the island to come back if he won the elections.

While he will only remain on the island for a few hours, according to the White House, “the visit follows a comprehensive report of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, which was delivered to the President and Congress in March of 2011.”

“The report provided a meaningful way forward on the question of status while making significant recommendations important to Puerto Rico’s economic development including promoting job creation, education, health care, and clean energy on the island,” the White House said upon officially confirming what will be the first official visit by a sitting U.S. President to the island since President Kennedy visited in 1961.

Obama’s agenda is brief: upon arrival, he will deliver brief remarks at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, after which he will head for La Fortaleza and end the day participating in an exclusive Democratic National Convention fundraiser at the Caribe Hilton Hotel. Obama will return to Washington, D.C. Tuesday night.

Following Obama’s visit, the Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in cooperation with the local government and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce will hold a summit Wednesday to discuss the island’s economic development.

The all-day event at the Conrad Condado Plaza is a follow-up to the report, which recommended conducting summits focused on key areas.  This year’s summit will focus on four of the Report’s central themes in the area of economic development: building competitive industries; strengthening Puerto Rico’s economic future; innovation, technologies and science clusters; and government procurement, according to the agenda for the invitation-only event.

Members of the Task Force meet with President Obama in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Task Force’s Co-Chairs, Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Tom Perrelli, associate attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice will offer a review of the report, its recommendations, and the next steps the Task Force will take.

“The panel format is designed to enhance audience participation and dialogue.  Moderators will engage both the panel and the audience in a meaningful discussion on the economic development of Puerto Rico and the Task Force’s recommendations,” according to the invitation, of which News is my Business obtained a copy.

This is the second summit the Task Force will hold in Puerto Rico, following an initial meeting in Washington in May 2010.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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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