A few Practical Tips for doing business in Puerto Rico
Business meetings normally do not start on time.
Handshakes with direct eye contact and welcoming smile is standard.
When shaking hands, use appropriate greetings e.g. buenos dias, buenos tardes, buenos noches.
Be formal when first meeting someone and don`t use first names unless invited to do so.
The official languages are English and Spanish.
Don't talk about Puerto Rico's status as US territory since this is a sensitive and controversial topic.
For small talk purposes, talk about sports and travel.
Individuals generally pride themselves on their hospitality.
1493 - Island was claimed by Spain.
1898 - Island was ceded to the US by Spain as a result of the Spanish American War.
1917 - Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship.
1952 - Constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government. Puerto Rico is not a state, but rather a US territory with commonwealth status.
Government - Territorial Government
Capital City - San Juan
Governor - Territorial Governor: Pedro Pierluisi
Literacy Rate: 92.40%
Size: Slightly less than 3 times the size of Rhode Island
Population: 3.057 M (2023 est.)
Population Growth Rate - 1.29% (2023 est.)
Unemployment Rate - 6.0 % (December 2022)
GDP - 106.5B (2021 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: 0.21% (2021 est.)
Labor Force Breakdown – Agriculture - 2.1%, Industry - 19%, Services - 79% (2021)
Major Industries - Pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Total Product Exports - 73.17B (2017)
Major Product Exports: Packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, hormones, orthopedic and medical appliances, sulfur compounds (2019)
Note: Puerto Rico was the US top exporter of pharmaceutical and medicine products in 2022.
Major Export Partners (2019)
Italy - 16%, Netherlands - 15%, Belgium - 9%, Japan - 8%, Germany - 8%, Austria - 8%, Spain -7%, China -5%
Total Product Imports - 49.01B (2017 est.)
Major Product Imports: Nitrogen compounds, sulfur, refined petroleum, medical cultures/vaccines, cars
Major Import Partners (2019)
Ireland - 38%, Singapore - 9%, Switzerland - 8%, South Korea - 5%
English Language Online News Sites
El Expresso - general news - www.elexpresso.com
Noticel - digital newspaper - general news - www.noticel.com
Sampling of Puerto Rico Companies
Cafe Rico – coffee - www.caferico.com - Ponce
Cristalia Premium Water - drinking water - www.cristaliapremiumwater.com - Ponce
Bluewater Defense Inc. - protective clothing, uniforms and equipment for US Defense Department - www.bluewaterdefense.com - Corozal
Industrias Vassallo - PVC manufacturer - www.vassalloindustries.com - Ponce
Ponce Candy Industries - food products - www.fiesta.es - Ponce
Novus - shoes, handbags and accessories for women and men - www.novusshoes.com - Ponce
Suarez & Co. - food products and development - www.vsuarez.com - Bayamon
AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd. - pharmaceuticals, R&D - www.abbvie.com - Barceloneta
Avara - contract manufacturing of pharmaceuticals - www.avara.com - Arecibo
Cortes Chocolate - confectionery products - www.chocolatecortes.com - San Juan
Martex Farms - grower of bananas, avocados, palm trees and mangos - www.martexfarms.com - Santa Isabel
Rovira Biscuits Corporation – crackers - www.rovirabiscuits.com - Ponce
Many foreign companies have operations in Puerto Rico, including:
Ecolab, PPG, FMC, Praxair, Heraeus, Eli Lilly, Patheon, Linde, LabChem, Industrial Chemical Corporation, BASF, Proctor & Gamble, GE, Medtronic, Abbott, Eaton, Nike, Johnson Controls, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, 3M, Trane
National Holidays - 2023
January 1 - New Year’s Day
January 2 - New Years Holiday
January 6 - Epiphany
April 7 - Good Friday
May 14 - Mother`s Day
June 18 - Father`s Day
July 4 - US Independence Day
July 25 - Puerto Rico Constitution Day
November 23 - Thanksgiving Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
By Paul Mastilak