The Caribbean has more to offer than great vacation destinations - it presents a good opportunity for those looking to start or expand their businesses in the Americas. Our United States Managing Director Jason Gerlis and Eliseo Roques-Arroyo from EDGE Legal look at why it's a good idea to do business in the island of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico's administration has implemented several incentives for businesses and individual investors to live, work and profit more freely. It is expected that by 2017 there will be an influx of entrepreneurs and financiers to Puerto Rico, investing around US $10bn in total, taking advantage of big tax savings and creating much-needed new jobs. Through the enactment of several laws to promote the export of services from Puerto Rico and the relocation of investors to Puerto Rico, an attractive framework has been established to attract new capital and foster economic growth by stimulating important new commercial activities in financial consulting, manufacturing, insurance, software development and internet marketing, among many other eligible activities.
Puerto Rico's economic crisis is evident - the public debt is close to US $72 billion, with the potential to become one of the largest debt defaults in its history. However, former IMF expert Anne Krueger say a series of structural reforms, including changes to labour laws and welfare, could help improve the situation. There is also work underway to strengthen the tourism and agriculture sectors, reducing power costs, increasing fiscal measures, encouraging industrial development, offering investment incentives and supporting existing businesses. An aggressive outreach strategy to attract new businesses is also on the local administration's economic recovery plan.
There are many other reasons why investors should consider Puerto Rico as an opportunity. The island is strategically located midway between North and South America - two of the world's fastest-growing economic regions - and is a US Commonwealth or "protected territory", so no passport is required for US citizens. This also means that in Puerto Rico's official currency is the US dollar and that Federal funds for infrastructure, social programs...