Push on to make Aguadilla airport a free trade zone, boost northwest

By: Eva Llorens / Caribbean Business
February 21, 2012

The Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla is to be designated a free trade zone to stimulate the economy and create hundreds of jobs, Economic Development & Commerce Secretary José R. Pérez Riera and Mayor Carlos Méndez announced Monday.
Both officials agreed to work toward the establishment of a free trade zone at the airport because of the importance of such a move for the region. Free trade zones are special areas that have special economic advantages that include tax exemptions and benefits that reduce the operational costs of businesses operating on them.

Last year, Pérez Riera worked with the city of Aguadilla to complete the filing of a request before the Foreign Trade Zone Board, complying with all of the established requirements for the airport at the former Ramey Air Force Base to become the first to be designated a free trade zone.

“Aguadilla, with its venture vision, will have one of the most aggressive tools to develop the economy of the region,” Pérez Riera said in a release.

The airport has a strategic location, ample facilities and the most favorable conditions for air travel, he said.

Pérez Riera said the initiative is in addition to a request made to the federal Department of Transportation for a series of exemptions in the transfer of cargo to ease restrictions, including those imposed on foreign airlines, that inhibit the efficient movement of cargo.

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