PRFAA comments on productive visit by White House Special Representative to Puerto Rico
Intended to help position island as manufacturing center
SAN JUAN – Amid the visit to Puerto Rico by the White House’s Special Representative to the island, Rear Adm. Peter J. Brown, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) issued a news release commenting on the activities held to promote the manufacturing industry federally.
The visit was coordinated in partnership with the island’s resident commissioner, Jenniffer González-Colón, and officials on the island.
Brown, and officials from the White House, the Development Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were shown what the PRFAA called “Puerto Rico’s capabilities and potential to become a Caribbean hub in the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing industry.”
Brown participated in meetings joined by PRFAA Executive Director Jennifer M. Storipan, Esq. and Deputy Director Juan Leonardo Negrón Díaz; Resident Commissioner González-Colón; Chris Abbott, senior policy analyst at the White House; Juan Caro, special adviser of the White House and Department of Energy; Eric Jones of the U.S. Development Finance Corporation; Alex Amparo, Federal Disaster Recovery coordinator, Federal Management Emergency Agency (FEMA); Alejandro De La Campa, acting deputy Federal Disaster Recovery coordinator, FEMA; Doug Benevento, associate deputy administrator, EPA; and Peter D. López, regional administrator, EPA.
“This visit builds upon Admiral Brown’s trips over the past year to discuss the revitalization of the island, ongoing federal projects, preparedness and readiness for the 2020 hurricane season, and economic development for Puerto Rico. As the island continues to recover from the 2017 hurricanes, Irma and María, the recent earthquakes that continue to impact the island, and the ongoing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, will all be issues at the forefront of this trip,” the news release reads.
The visit has included meetings with the GK Pharmaceutical, Honeywell Industries, Lufthansa Technik, Copan Industries, Pfizer, Skalar, and GSK.
A pharma industry roundtable and a “virtual working section” with the manufacturing industry were held, the PRFAA said.
On Friday, officials are expected to visit environmental sites with the EPA and discuss disaster recovery efforts, as well as “engage in a dialogue with several communities on the drinking water system, and the recycling industry,” according to the release.
PRFAA’s Storipan said: “This visit to the island’s biomedical production facilities allowed stakeholders the opportunity to experience firsthand Puerto Rico’s pharmaceutical and medical device manufacture industry. The island is the largest exporter of medical and pharmaceutical equipment in the United States, distributing over $53 billion in biopharmaceuticals within the past year. Our goal is to provide the United States a steady supply chain in an effort to reduce our Nation’s dependence on a foreign supply chain.
When the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic first impacted the United States, our Nation confronted and experienced the extent of our dependency and the reality of the consequences of relying on a foreign chain supply. We saw a shortage of materials and equipment necessary to battle the worst pandemic of modern times. Puerto Rico can help reduce our Nation’s dependence on foreign chain supply with an industry that has proven resilient and cost-efficient, as labor costs are 20-to-30 percent lower than those on the mainland. We believe that the island is well positioned to become a Caribbean hub in the medical and pharmaceutical device manufacturing industry to ensure our Nation is protected from future pandemics and epidemics.”