San Diego's mayor and regional trade officials want leaders in Washington, D.C. to understand that talk of changing trade policy with Mexico directly affects the economy of cities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“When there are discussions about the border when the border is a thousand miles away from them in other states, it’s important for us at the local level to tell our story,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.
“Cooperation works, communication works,” he said.
Mayors of cities located on both sides of the border met Thursday in San Diego to discuss how to strengthen ties between the two regions.
Among the topics: modernizing NAFTA, tackling border infrastructure and urban development.
Faulconer said it’s important to promote fair and open trade with Mexico and he will carry that message when he travels to the nation’s capital later this year.
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders said trade between Mexico and the U.S. is valued at well over $600 billion a year.
To those who argue they prefer to buy American-made products, Sanders said they usually reconsider when it comes to the cost.
“Everybody says that until they actually have to go pay for it,” Sanders said.
Secretary of Economic Development for the City of Tijuana David Moreno said summits like this one are important to generate the same level of interest among all mayors.
“In order to be more prosperous, for economic development and tourism,” Moreno said.
One example is how San Diego County and Baja California make up the largest medical device manufacturing region in the world, Moreno said.
Both Moreno and Sanders said each new job created in Tijuana creates a half of a job in San Diego.