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Familiar territory for U.S. brands in Puerto Rico, reports Country Profile


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Puerto Rico flag

Flag Facts

The white star symbolizes Puerto Rico, while the three sides of the triangle signify the executive, legislative and judicial parts of government. Blue stands for the sky and the coastal waters, red symbolizes the blood shed by warriors, and white represents liberty, victory and peace.

Location: Puerto Rico is an island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic. It is about three times the size of Rhode Island.

Language: Spanish and English

Total Population: 3.3 million

Capital: San Juan

Government: Puerto Rico is an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S. It has a republican form of government with separate executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Religion: Roman Catholic (85%), Protestant and other (15%)

Economy: Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which hit in September 2017 and caused more than $10 billion in damage. Its economic growth, however, has been negative for each of the last 11 years, a downturn that has coincided with the phaseout of tax preferences that had led U.S. firms to invest heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. It’s also had to deal with a steep rise in the price of oil, which generates most of the island’s electricity. The economy relies heavily on federal aid from the U.S. government but a focus on private sector investment is in the works.

News note: Puerto Rico’s leadership faced turmoil this summer following the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló after a group text message scandal revealed messages containing sexist, profane and homophobic comments. Days of mass protests followed the leaking of the messages and Rosselló resigned August 2. The successor he appointed, former politician and lawyer Pedro Pierluisi, also had to step down after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court unanimously decided that appointing Pierluisi as governor without Senate confirmation was unconstitutional. Wanda Vázquez, the former secretary of justice, was installed as governor August 7.

GDP (official exchange rate): $104.2 billion

Currency: U.S. dollar

Franchising in Puerto Rico: As a U.S. territory, franchises in Puerto Rico are subject to the Franchise Rule of the Federal Trade Commission, meaning that prior to offering and selling franchises, franchisors must have a prepared and updated franchise disclosure document and comply with the other provisions mandated by the rule. Franchises must also adhere to local business laws, such as the Dealers Act Law 75, which regulates commercial relationships between principals and distributors.  

Ease of doing business rank by World Bank: 64. 

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