Our inaugural Cross-Border Business Forum was a success with over 50 industry professionals and business leaders in attendance. As business owners in San Diego continue to expand their operations across the border – and vice versa – this meeting was an excellent opportunity for businesses to learn new trends in foreign investment and business development, make new connections, and lend their own business expertise with respect to cross-border commerce.
The event began with a panel moderated by Monica Montano (Director of Community Relations, Scripps Health) and featuring cross-border experts:
- Francisco Sanchez, Business Development Manager, Procopio Law
- Cristina Hermosillo, President, Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, and
- Gilbert Ulloa, Director of Economic Promotion, City of Tijuana.
After our panelists reviewed the different projects and measures that their own teams are working on to improve cross-border commerce, our attendees participated in a lively Q&A discussion about investment trends and strategies for expansion.
A few takeaways from the discussion:
- 85-90 percent of manufacturing business in Tijuana are U.S. companies (but most of those are not based in San Diego).
- While the cost of housing in San Diego (and California) continues to skyrocket, there are plans to build affordable housing for San Diegans in Tijuana.
- Tijuana has received 1.4 billion dollars in foreign direct investment, most of this has been directed to the manufacturing industry.
- The City of Tijuana is working on digitizing business operations including allowing businesses to process permits online, and encouraging small businesses to allow debit/credit card use (instead of cash-only) to accommodate foreign travelers.
- Although Mexican labor is more expensive than typical outsource countries (Vietnam, for example), its proximity to the United States gives it a competitive advantage for investment.
Details to follow soon.