Puerto Rico in talks with Germany to attract investment
SAN JUAN – The Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) has established partnerships and agreements with the German government and academia, as well as companies to attract investment in the renewable energy and medical device industries.
“We established an alliance with the state of Baden-Württemberg, whose representatives, through a company owned by the state, will conduct a study in collaboration with local universities on Puerto Rico’s flora to determine the feasibility of developing a self-sustainable bioeconomic model. The study will evaluate agricultural products such as bananas, plantain and coffee to convert their waste into fuel and textiles. This is one of multiple projects and initiatives that could result from this commercial relationship,” explained Víctor Merced, director of Business Development at the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco) and DDEC.
Merced pointed out that the first phase of the project will be possible through the formalization of a collaborative agreement between the Government of Puerto Rico and Baden-Württemberg, whose capital is the industrial city of Stuttgart. Both governments would be in charge of its financing. Once the viability of the project is approved, a team of German experts would serve as consultants and facilitators to develop it locally.
“If there is anything [Hurricane] María’s passage that has proven, it is the need to have a renewable energy industry that not only produces locally, but also provides alternatives for Puerto Rico. Therefore, we have established relationships with cities in Germany, universities and private companies in this market to attract models and high-tech projects in the energy sector to the island,” Puerto Rico Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy said.
On the other hand, Laboy Rivera indicated that as a result of the relationship established with Baden-Württemberg, Puerto Rico was invited to “Medica,” the largest event in the world that gathers medical device sector reps from some 70 countries
“As a result of María, all eyes are on Puerto Rico. Although international news may seem negative for the image of the island as an investment market, the reality is it has caused potential investors to listen to our proposals with greater interest. Organizations such as the Spanish Federation of Health Technology Companies, which brings together some 1,000 companies in the field of devices; German Trade & Invest; and Enterprise Ireland; among others received positively DDEC’s proposal to look at Puerto Rico as the door to enter the medical device markets in all of the Americas,” the secretary added.
“These initiatives, which are part of the efforts of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and supported by German officials, will contribute to the development of a sustainable economy based on technology and the bio-economy, with proven models in other countries,” Laboy Rivera reiterated.