National and World

Puerto Rico aims to Latin America and Spain as priorities for its economy

February 19, 2014 1:32 pm

San Juan, Feb 19 (Entravision) .- Puerto Rico has in Latin America and Spain to its two major priorities in the field of economic development, said today the secretary of State of the Caribbean island, David Bernier.

The official said at an event organized by the Chamber of Commerce Official Spanish in Puerto Rico on the occasion of its annual assembly of partners, which gave the conference “The foreign policy of Puerto Rico”, that those two geographic spaces are key areas for the economy of the Commonwealth.

Bernier acknowledged that Puerto Rico, in its territory – not incorporated – American, has limited its autonomy to carry out policies and international economic relations with other countries, but that even so and within the margins established its department is that the island earn presence on the world stage.

He stressed that one of its priorities since taking the helm of the Department of State has been to Puerto Rico increase its participation in the international sphere to increase trade with areas considered strategic for San Juan but so far without the attention they deserve.

Bernier stressed that within Latin America, the Caribbean is, logically, the area that most interest has for his Government, after qualify that the relationship with the United States deserves, by their features, and a special section.

“There has been no communication with those markets,” said Bernier on the little attention that for San Juan have been for decades the Caribbean and Latin America.

Puerto Rico wants to give a 180 degree change to this policy and the protection of the free trade agreements signed between Washington and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean is focused to achieve a greater regional integration.

The Secretary of State noted to Dominican Republic, Colombia and Peru as the countries with which in a first phase will deepen in the increase of the trade.

He said that in the case of the Dominican Republic the same traveled the last month of May to the neighboring Caribbean island to achieve an agreement that has allowed the technical support of rice farmers of this country to grow grain with success for decades.

He emphasized that the discussions with Santo Domingo have facilitated that progressively go by correcting the imbalance of the traditional balance of trade between the two Caribbean territories.

He said that in all these agreements are reached in coordination with the US authorities.

Bernier made it clear that Puerto Rico respects the protocols that derive from its Commonwealth status to the United States, which has, for example, prevented that San Juan between to be part of the countries that make up the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

One of the paragraphs in the works that his department is in the inclusion of Puerto Rico in the tax treaty that maintained by Spain and the United States with the objective of helping companies of the European country present on the island.

Bernier described to EFE that the purpose is to ensure that between Spain and Puerto Rico to establish an agreement such as the already existing with U.S. , although in the future could be extended to other European countries.

Until now, the agreement between Spain and the United States has not been extended to Puerto Rico to enjoy the Caribbean island of autonomy contributory.

Puerto Rico is a US territory since 1898 with a significant degree of autonomy compared to Washington, which was, however, reserve the lines of defense, borders and foreign affairs, among others.