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Puerto Rico stakeholders to host White House officials in ‘Industry Capabilities Tour’

By on August 17, 2020

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Will feature tours of facilities and host talks with industry associations on strengthening pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing

SAN JUAN — Invest Puerto Rico (InvestPR), in partnership with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA), the Pharmaceutical Industry Association (PIA), the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA), and other industry organizations and government officials, will host White House officials in a visit to Puerto Rico Aug. 18-20.

The three-day tour will include visits to companies and facilities for redevelopment in pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and feature roundtable discussions in an effort to showcase the island’s capabilities as a global life sciences manufacturing hub.

The purpose of the visit is to measure the island’s capacity to reshore more manufacturing operations back to the United States, “especially given Puerto Rico’s storied background in pharmaceuticals,” reads the press release issued by Invest Puerto Rico, the organization created by law to attract businesses and capital abroad to foster economic growth on the island.

Puerto Rico provides operations to 12 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies as well as seven of the top 10 medical device companies. The biosciences industry makes up roughly one-third of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, employs more than 94,000 in the field, “and is the nation’s lead exporter of pharmaceuticals, sprinting past the next state (Indiana) by nearly double the exports,” according to the release.

The visit, part of the “Industry Capabilities Tour” initiative, will be led by White House Special Representative to Puerto Rico, Rear Adm. Peter J. Brown, and officials in defense, environmental and trade policy. The delegation aims “to assess and fully understand opportunities to quickly mobilize,” the release reads.

“Invest Puerto Rico is pleased to host Rear Adm. Brown and his delegation as they witness the island’s bioscience manufacturing expertise,” said Rodrick T. Miller, InvestPR CEO. “Puerto Rico has proven itself to be a next-generation global pharmaceutical hub, hosting a powerhouse of talent, suppliers, incentives, and available sites at the ready to accommodate quickly starting up manufacturing operations on the Island. Hosting the nation’s largest concentration of pharmaceutical and medical equipment experts right on the island, offering a tremendous number of available sites meeting sterility and safety requirements, and having the industry resources and guidance on-hand; it’s the perfect opportunity for our island and for the nation.”

This visit follows President’s Trump’s executive order issued Aug. 6 to increase domestic production for essential medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), in addition to personal protection equipment and medical devices. It also directed federal agencies to consider domestic procurement toward these industries and build a resilient supply chain strategy around the U.S.

“I am pleased to join InvestPR, the DDEC, and my Administration colleagues in advancing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing in Puerto Rico,” Brown stated. “President Trump’s leadership and executive orders create the opportunity to improve America’s medical supply chain and Puerto Rico’s economy, making both more secure, stable, and resilient for the future.”

“These visits and meetings are a result of the legislation we have sponsored in Congress, including the MMEDS Act with Senator Marco Rubio to position Puerto Rico as a pharmaceutical and medical device hub,” Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González said. “We have the talent, resources and capabilities to play a leading role in bringing the manufacturing of medical devices and pharmaceuticals back to our nation. These site visits will provide an opportunity to demonstrate what Puerto Rico has to offer in an industry of utmost importance to our national security while showcasing the commitment of all Puerto Ricans contributing to the nation’s economy and the Island’s economy and creating new jobs.”  

For his part, Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy stated, “Puerto Rico has everything to position itself as the world leader in manufacturing in the Bioscience sector, among others. Over the next few days we will visit several pharmaceutical companies and centers that offer specialized services worldwide. They are a great example of the success of the operations of these companies in Puerto Rico with a first-class infrastructure and a workforce of excellence. As a government we are committed through the Department of Economic Development and Commerce to support private investment through incentives, in sectors with a positive return on investment, as established by the Puerto Rico Incentive Code.”

InvestPR works with other organizations involved in the tour including the Industry Research Center (INDUNIV) and the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA), as well as other leaders in the Bioscience, supply chain and logistics sectors. 

“The PRMA has been working hard through a task force we established early in the year to bring back manufacturing to Puerto Rico,” said Carlos. M. Rodríguez, president of PRMA. “We have joined forces with InvestPR and other organizations to implement an Industry Sector Education Campaign to ensure key individuals that are responsible of influencing decisions regarding policy that affects the Island are aware of the assets, experience, talent and existing capabilities of Puerto Rico.”

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