Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla departed for Spain on Monday with the aim of seeking investment opportunities that would benefit the island's economy, the local government announced in a statement.

Garcia Padilla is scheduled to hold several meetings in Spain with private business and banking and his trip is primarily designed to promote Spanish and European investment in the U.S. commonwealth's pharmaceutical and medical equipment sectors.

The initiative is part of the Puerto Rican government's plan to create jobs, especially in the island's pharmaceutical sector, which is one of the most well-developed in the world.

Puerto Rico's economic development and trade secretary, Alberto Baco, and the head of PRIDCO industrial development company, Antonio Medina, are accompanying the governor.

The bioscience industries sector employs 35,000 people in Puerto Rico, where the main U.S. pharmaceutical firms have been established for decades due to labor cost advantages.

It is calculated that more than 18 percent of the pharmaceutical products sold in the United States are manufactured in Puerto Rico, including the medications Lipitor, Zocor, Prilosec and Norvasc.

Garcia Padilla is scheduled to travel to the cities of Madrid and Santander - and he will return to the island on June 27 - but no meetings with Spanish government officials are on the agenda for this trip. EFE