San Diego business and political leaders, including Mayor Kevin Faulconer, headed to Mexico City Sunday for three days of talks ranging from border crossing improvements to pollution in the Tijuana River.
The meetings are part of the 14th annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City, presented by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. It’s the group’s first visit to Mexico’s capital since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office.
Faulconer was joined by Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina and nearly 100 business and community leaders from San Diego and Baja California.
San Diego and Mexican leaders will discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) – a pact meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the Trump administration aimed to end. And while USMCA’s ratification waits for Congress and Mexico’s government, NAFTA will remain in effect.
“Free trade works,” Dedina said. The Chamber’s delegation said it will advocate in support of USMCA.
Another major topic to be discussed over the three days will be infrastructure improvements at border crossings.
“We have about 100 thousand jobs in the region that are reliant on that cross-border flow of trade of goods and services,” Dedina said.
The Imperial Beach mayor said a safe, secure, and functioning border is “incredibly important” for these jobs.
“The message is that we need clean beaches on both sides of the border,” Dedina told NBC 7. “(Mexico needs) to stop dumping raw sewage on the beach south of the border and dumping raw sewage into the Tijuana River.”
The trip comes at uncertain times, as President Donald Trump has once again threatened to shut down the southern border. On Friday, President Trump said the closure would come “if Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States.” He added, “We’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games,” according to NBC News.
Dedina said the last border closure in San Diego had a “huge impact on the San Diego and Tijuana economy.”
“Closing the border doesn’t make any sense,” Dedina told NBC 7. The Imperial Beach mayor noted the need for tourists and residents crossing the border to help fuel the local economies.
The delegation’s 95 members make it the Chamber’s largest group ever to visit Mexico City.