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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Resident commissioner, private sector leaders sign MOU to bring more jobs to PR


The memorandum of understanding reads, in part: “Puerto Rico can be instrumental in strengthening the supply chain and ending dependence on China, in defending our national security, in ensuring that U.S. tax dollars are invested on American soil, and in making private industry the engine of our economy.”

By The Star Staff


Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón held a sixth roundtable Wednesday with representatives of the island’s private sector, with whom she signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote the economic development agenda that she is working on in Congress.


“We have managed to secure billions of dollars in federal funds for Puerto Rico. However, U.S. citizens living on the island receive fewer federal benefits than Americans living in the continental United States, even though their federal contributions totaled more than $4 billion in fiscal year 2021,” the resident commissioner said. “For example, Puerto Rico residents are not eligible for Supplemental Social Security (SSI), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and various federal health care subsidies, and earn less, on average, in Social Security and veterans’ benefits. In addition, many federal mandatory spending programs available in states are capped in the case of Puerto Rico or funded through grants, rather than open spending, as in the case of Medicaid and nutrition assistance programs. Our territorial situation means that the burden of financing these programs falls on the government of Puerto Rico disproportionately to that of the states in similar circumstances.”


The MOU was signed by the following representatives of organizations present at the roundtable: Zoimé Álvarez Rubio, vice president of the Bankers Association of Puerto Rico; CPA Aixa González Reyes, president of the CPAs Association; Cameron McKenzie, president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce; Lourdes M. Aponte Rodríguez, president of the United Retailers Center; Carlos Rodríguez, president of the General Contractors Association; Joeyleen Quiñones, president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry and Distribution, or MIDA; Pedro Ramos Salgado, president of the Puerto Rican Concrete Association; Gadiel Negrón, executive director of the Puerto Rico Restaurants Association, or ASORE; Hugo Lasso. president of the Puerto Rico District Export Council; Eric Santiago, president of the Industrialists Association; Dr. Ramón Vega Alejandro, executive director of PRIMEX (PR Manufacturing Extension).


Also signing the MOU were Vanessa Piñeiro Solano, executive director of the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau; Vanessa de Mari Monserrate, president of the Builders Association; Josué Rivera, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Iliette Frontera, president of Medical Devices Cluster; and Clarivette Díaz, president of the Puerto Rico Shipowners Association, among others.


The MOU reads that “the signatories of this Memorandum understand that federal policies are an important component to Puerto Rico’s economic recovery and that Puerto Rico can play an important role in creating jobs on American soil and increasing the competitiveness of American global companies. This is consistent with Congress’s goals of ‘bringing back America’s jobs.’ Products made in Puerto Rico are products made in the United States and directly impact the national economy.”


It adds: “Jobs in the manufacturing sector have the effect of reversing migration to the continental United States and increasing employment opportunities in Puerto Rico (directly, indirectly and induced) with the indirect effect of increasing personal expenses, housing needs, with large effects of repopulation, additional infrastructure, development and construction, thus expanding Puerto Rico’s tax base. Puerto Rico can be instrumental in strengthening the supply chain and ending dependence on China, in defending our national security, in ensuring that U.S. tax dollars are invested on American soil, and in making private industry the engine of our economy.”

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