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PRMA To Unify Organizations In Chamber To Lead Island’s Economic Development

Body Will Promote Sales Tax, Lower Energy Costs, Unicameral Legislature, Reduction In Government


September 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA) is moving ahead with plans to organize a chamber that will gather local associations and other organizations interested in promoting and lobbying for new projects that will expand the island’s economy, said PRMA President Manuel Cidre.

The PRMA has been speaking with groups such as the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce about committing to the effort. The strong chamber would present a united front on issues relevant to the island’s economy, among them protecting free enterprise, implementing a sales tax, privatizing government services, lowering energy costs, reducing the size of government, switching to a unicameral legislature, and preventing monopolies.

"Puerto Rico will no longer tolerate the private sector, which moves the island’s economy, being affected by the government’s wavering [on matters of economic development]," said Cidre during a speech at the PRMA’s 75th anniversary convention in August. "I have tried during my term as PRMA president to achieve two goals: to position the private sector as the leader it should be in the country’s economic development and to work toward a change in the vision we have for our organization.

"[The PRMA] has taken the lead to promote Puerto Rico as a world-class operations destination," added Cidre. "We have directed our efforts at and held meetings with international site finders interested in establishing facilities on the island. We have also accompanied members overseas to show off their products and services to corporations, governments, and international associations. Wal-Mart’s support of our products, the Curacao trade mission, our meetings with members of the U.S. government and the European Union, along with the 11 economic development measures we presented to this administration, are a few of the areas in which we have made our presence felt."

Cidre urges all political parties in Puerto Rico to realize that no political formula will be successful if it doesn’t consider the island’s economic development. "The U.S. won’t turn a territory into a state if it must be looked after," he said. "The commonwealth party can’t speak about concretizing its status if it doesn’t uphold its constitutional mandate. And no one will desire an independent Puerto Rico that has no means to sustain itself.

"Our political ideals are only possible if we develop Puerto Rico to a level of economic power that allows us to choose what we want to be as a country," added Cidre. "As Nypro President Brian Jones said during his speech, economic development is not a four-year strategy, nor can it be left in the hands of politicians."

The PRMA has promised to support developing high-technology sectors in Puerto Rico such as biotechnology, medical devices, plastics, electronics, and instruments; increasing exports to the U.S. mainland, Europe, and Asia; providing more opportunities for artisans; ensuring sustainable development in Puerto Rico’s southern region, and other initiatives.

Cidre also said the PRMA expects to move from its Rio Piedras facilities to Guaynabo’s new Marketing Center, where it will have space to provide workshops and seminars, to set up a business resource library, and to open a permanent exhibit area for members’ products and services. In addition, the association will build on its educational activities, internships, and training programs.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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