Washington, DC –The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation authored by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) that would help companies operating in Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories to export their products abroad. Velázquez’s legislation, the Office of Territorial Exporting Act, passed as part of H.R. 4863, House Democrats’ larger bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
“Following Hurricane Maria and decades of neglect, Puerto Rico is still struggling to get its economy back on its feet,” said Velázquez. “This legislation will promote exports from Puerto Rico and ensure businesses there fully utilize the Export-Import Bank’s assistance.”
Since 2015, the Export-Import Bank has provided only a fraction of financing to businesses on the Island, a staggering 28 businesses versus 3,900 elsewhere. Velázquez’s measure, which was incorporated into the United States Export Finance Agency Act, would create a new office aimed at conducting outreach and education to exporting businesses in Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, helping ensure they can access financial assistance offered by the Bank.
“As Puerto Ricans work to rebuild their local economy, manufacturing and exporting will be a vital part of the equation,” Velázquez added. “Unfortunately, to date, Puerto Rican firms haven’t been able to access all the tools available to them at the Export-Import Bank. The bill we passed today will take important steps to remedy that problem, fueling exports from the Island and fostering greater economic opportunity and creating good paying jobs along the way.”
H.R. 4863, including Velázquez’s Office of Territorial Exporting Act, now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“I’d like to thank Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Waters for working with me to include my bill in the larger package and move these provisions through the House,” Velázquez concluded.