July 25, 2017 Print

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The Centro para Renovación Económica, Crecimiento y Excelencia (CRECE) may be less than three years old, but it has made great strides this year toward establishing itself as a key proponent of Puerto Rico’s economic growth.

To increase its visibility, CRECE, an Atlas Network partner founded by former Puerto Rican Gov. Luis G. Fortuno in December 2014, has integrated itself into media and public discussions on economic affairs and coordinated panels and presentations at the Metropolitan University in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Our most exciting outcome so far has been our capacity to reach the public through regular placement of blog columns in Puerto Rico’s leading newspaper,” stated CRECE Executive Director Teresita Nolla.

Starting this year, CRECE has reached a broad audience through placing monthly blog columns in El Nuevo Dia, among others. The columns, written by Fortuno, focus on opportunities for growth in Puerto Rico’s complicated fiscal and economic landscape. El Nuevo Dia has an average digital circulation of 171,383 and print circulation of 179,297. CRECE promotes the columns through an email list and Facebook.

CRECE also began hosting a speaker series this year. On February 27, recently confirmed Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marin served as a speaker at a CRECE forum called “Puerto Rico and its New Global Reality.” The forum attracted more than 110 attendees, including at least 40 students from the Metropolitan University in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Secretary Marin spoke about the challenges faced by Puerto Rico in the rapidly changing global market,” said Nolla. “He underscored the need to tackle excessive regulations, reduce the tax burden on small and medium businesses, and shrink government.”

Upcoming events include a tax reform forum in the fall, in collaboration with Fundación Libertad, an Atlas Network partner also based in San Juan.

CRECE published its own Economic Freedom Index in March 2016, which highlights the need to streamline and speed up permit processes to attract private investment in infrastructure development. CRECE recently secured an initial commitment from the Fraser Institute to include Puerto Rico in the Institute’s Economic Freedom Index, as part of North America. CRECE and the Institute are working on data collection for the report. Moving forward, CRECE hopes to conduct an economic freedom audit in Puerto Rico.