Rep. González, Sen. Rubio introduce bill to promote Puerto Rico manufacturing
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, D.C., Jenniffer González Colón, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation to help boost the island’s economy and position Puerto Rico as a center of medical equipment and drug production.
The measure’s objective is to encourage pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturers abroad to relocate to U.S. territory.
“The fact that these manufacturers that produce essential health materials for the American market are not within our reach, especially in times of crisis, represents a threat to the national medical supply chain. With this bill, we seek to correct this, offering federal incentives to these companies in exchange for job creation and capital investment, so that they relocate to American soil, specifically in places with high levels of poverty, designated as ‘Distressed Zones,'” González said in a press release.
Moving these large companies to places with high levels of poverty rates “will translate into a large investment in the area that, eventually, would help to transition them to stronger economic zones, generating the rise of small businesses and offering well-paying jobs,” the congresswoman’s release reads.
“Puerto Rico has the capacity, labor, experience, and infrastructure to become a national hub for the production of medical equipment and medicines, attracting manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies located abroad. Thus, we secure the national supply chain and boost our economy with well-paying jobs. This is my bill that I am promoting along with Senator Marco Rubio and the reason why I have brought Rear Admiral Peter Brown and a delegation from the White House to visit various pharmaceutical plants in the Island,” González added.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that we must rebuild our national manufacturing capacity, especially in our medical industry,” Rubio says in the release. “For too long, our manufacturing capabilities have moved to China, impacting communities across our country, including Puerto Rico, which was once home to a strong manufacturing industry in the United States. I am proud to join Congresswoman González-Colón in this vital effort to rebuild our manufacturing capacity, especially in the economically marginalized areas that were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
González has focused on further developing the island’s pharmaceutical industry and calls for the domestic production of pharmaceuticals to be considered a matter of national security.
In April, González introduced a bill similar to the Medical Manufacturing, Economic Development, and Sustainability (MMEDS) Act of 2020, Securing the National Supply Chain Act of 2020, or HR 6443.
In July, the resident commissioner filed HR 7527 (MMEDS Act) and Rubio, introduced the Senate measure, S. 4467, Thursday.