International companies expanding into Puerto Rico enter an economy where manufacturing represents 50% of Gross Domestic Product, with half of that coming from its pharmaceutical and medical equipment sector. The services sector makes up almost the entire balance of GDP and agriculture accounts for less than one per cent.
The World Bank assessed Puerto Rico’s GDP at 106 billion US dollars in 2021, with an estimated increase to 118 billion US dollars in 2022. Its economy, however, displays conflicting pictures. Despite years of recession the World Bank rates Puerto Rico as a high-income economy, with the World Economic Forum seeing it as the most competitive in Latin America.
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States and by comparison its population is poorer than any of the US states, with over 40% below the poverty line. In 2017, Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy with US$72 billion of debt. In January 2022, a restructuring plan was approved to cut US$33 billion from the debt.
The country’s highest value exports are pharmaceuticals, medicines and related products, medical equipment and supplies along with chemicals and ancillary products. Clothing and textiles, fish and rum are also on the exports list. Around half of GDP is revenue from exports. Puerto Rico’s 11 seaports make it a significant trading hub for the region.