Economy February 4, 2016 | 4:53 pm

Buy car in DR

As crisis rages Puerto Rico firms head to Dominican Republic: EFE

Santo Domingo .- Contrary to whathad become commonplace for decades, a growing number of Puerto Rican companiesare making headway in Dominican Republic as a strategy to survive the island-nation’scrisis, EFE reports from San Juan.

"There are many PuertoRicans coming to the neighboring country to do business," revealed GermánMonroig, executive director of the Puerto Rico Commonwealth Office (ELA) in theDominican Republic, an agency that has been operating since 1990.

That agency, says Monroig, worksas a link to promote business relations between the two islands, which reach nearlyUS$1.5 billion annually, of which US$900 million which goes to Puerto Rico’s coffers.

Part of the economic momentum isalso due to the law known as the Export Services Act, which seeks to promotePuerto Rico as international service center with reduced income tax rate and tax-exempt property as incentives for the professional services sector to stay onthe island.

Marketing, construction or healthare the most sought after services which are found in the neighboring country, just102 kilometers away from Puerto Rico.

Monroig, who has headed the ELA sinceSeptember 2014, said Puerto Rican companies like Danosa specializing in sealantsare noted for their construction services sector, where labor is much cheaperin Dominican Republic that in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican’s minimum monthly full-timewage are as much as five times that of Dominicans, according to the official.

Among the factors behind the"migration" of companies in addition to proximity, is the samelanguage and good flight connections, with at least four daily flights betweenthe two territories by JetBlue.

Monroig said another attractionfor Puerto Rican entrepreneurs when evaluating the Dominican Republic is theCaribbean country’s 7% economic growth while Puerto Rico has been hobbled by a 10-yearcrisis.

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