Governor Kathy Hochul and Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi on Friday launched the New York State and Puerto Rico Economic Opportunity Advisory Council, a group of administration officials appointed by Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi, to strengthen ties between New York and Puerto Rico and advance shared economic priorities. The council will explore, propose, and help implement policies to strengthen the New York and Puerto Rican economies.
As part of the announcement, Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi also unveiled three new economic development partnerships between New York State and Puerto Rico that will serve as the Council’s first priorities, which will seek to support the growing life sciences sector, collaborate in efforts to bridge the digital divide, and join forces on healthcare programs and policies to improve the lives of New Yorkers and Puerto Ricans. Each sector offers opportunities for New York and Puerto Rico to leverage state, territory, and federal investments and strengthen economic and social ties between Puerto Rico and New York, which has one of the largest populations of Puerto Rican residents outside of Puerto Rico.
“This new advisory council marks the start of an exciting new chapter in New York’s unwavering partnership with Governor Pierluisi and the island of Puerto Rico,” Governor Hochul said. “With this group of talented public servants at the helm, the New York State and Puerto Rico Economic Opportunity Advisory Council will help us double down on our commitments to building modern, 21st-century economies, starting by boosting our life sciences sectors, eliminating barriers to broadband access, and strengthening our healthcare systems.”
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said, “Puerto Rico and New York have strong ties and shared goals, which is why this partnership will surely benefit both of our communities by promoting and growing important sectors of our economies. Collaborating in health and research initiatives, and in the democratization of access to technology is another key step to our sustainable economic development aspirations. I thank Governor Hochul for the continuous support and look forward to expanding our work together.”
The New York State and Puerto Rico Economic Opportunity Advisory Council will be co-chaired by New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez and Puerto Rico Secretary of State Omar J. Marrero and comprised of representatives from New York and Puerto Rico government agencies with subject matter expertise in trade and tourism, economic development, emergency response and recovery, tech, healthcare, workforce development, and other fields. The Council will meet on a quarterly basis and deliver recommendations to both Governors to identify opportunities to collaborate between jurisdictions.
New York-Puerto Rico Life Science Exchange
Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi announced that, as part of the Council’s work, New York and Puerto Rico will launch the first-ever New York-Puerto Rico Life Science Exchange to support the growth of the life science industry in both jurisdictions. The New York-Puerto Rico Life Science Exchange will be hosted by SOSV’s IndieBio NY, a biotech startup development program in New York City, connecting New York and Puerto Rico in their commitment to advance life sciences research and innovation. This initiative builds off the recent designation of PRBio Tech Hub, a component of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust, as one of 31 newly designated federal Tech Hubs announced last week by President Biden and Secretary Raimondo as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.
The life science sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization. New York State is continuing to drive its transformative Life Science Initiative, designed to spur the growth of a world-class life science research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy.
In turn, Puerto Rico has established itself as a prominent bioscience hub, earning the reputation of being the “Medicine Cabinet of the USA” and leads the nation as a biosciences manufacturing hub. With a rich history and expertise in the industry, the island offers a foundation for innovation and growth.
New York-Puerto Rico Broadband Partnership
Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi announced that the Council would help to support a new collaboration by leveraging the skills and expertise of New York’s ConnectALL broadband initiative and build on the ambitious Puerto Rico Smart Island Initiative. ConnectALL and Smart Island Initiative will exchange best practices including exchanging ideas and procedures and facilitating connections between Puerto Rico’s broadband program and New York State partners and digital equity stakeholders.
Puerto Rico’s Smart Island Initiative involves deploying high-speed internet throughout the Island over a period of 5 years. With an allocation of more than $900 million in both state and federal funds, Puerto Rico is focused on the four main pillars of this initiative: connectivity, quality, accessibility and knowledge.
Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi also announced an effort to strengthen healthcare through the New York State and Puerto Rico Departments of Health and supported through the work of the Council, which will collaborate on programs and policies to improve the lives of New Yorkers and Puerto Ricans.