RECAP: 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City

The Chamber’s 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City – March 26 through 29, 2017 – brought nearly 90 business and community leaders as well as elected officials from San Diego and Baja, California to Mexico’s capital. The focus of our trip was to reaffirm our region’s commitment to binational collaboration, strengthen diplomatic and economic ties, and advance the policies that benefit both economies. And great success was achieved on all fronts.

Trip highlights and successes include:

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  • Signing an MOU with the Mexican Senate which formalizes collaboration and support between the Senate and our Chamber to promote and protect the bilateral commercial relationship.
  • Received support from Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, SRE, for the diplomatic note that is necessary to re-establish the rail port of entry at Tecate – an important step forward for the cross-border railroad. Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Marcella Celorio will serve as the lead within SRE.
  • Received an update on the Otay II port of entry confirming the Mexican land concession will be acquired in the next few months and that construction will begin in 2018 with an operating date of 2020.
  • Delegates enjoyed a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson at her residence, a meeting with former Mexican Ambassador and current Undersecretary for North America at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE), and an open roundtable discussion with over 10 members of Congress.

Another significant accomplishment of this year’s trip was sharing the message of support for the U.S.-Mexico relationship that is so important to our binational region. All of the legislators and federal agency representatives we met with during the trip were welcoming and thankful for our continued commitment to strengthening diplomatic and economic ties.

Below is a more detailed recap of each day’s activities. More photos from the trip are available on the Chamber’s Facebook page. If you’re interested in getting involved in the Chamber’s future delegation trips, visit sdchamber.org/policy/delegation-trips.

12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City

The 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City began Sunday, March 26 with an evening Welcome Reception for the nearly 90 business, community and government leaders from San Diego and Baja taking part in the trip.

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J.C. Thomas speaking on behalf of Title Sponsor Sempra Energy

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Day One

The first full day of meetings started with a welcome from our binational region’s mayors, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum of Tijuana. Delegates then heard from Juan Pardinas, Director of a thinktank, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness and former Advisor to President Obama’s Council on Open Government. This was followed by meetings on the region’s critical infrastructure projects with various leaders from Mexico’s customs, transportation and national assets and a meeting with the Secretariat of the Interior where delegates discussed topics ranging from medical tourism to the cross-border railroad. Paulo Carreño King, Executive Director of ProMexico, shared an impressive overview of the region’s assets as a global powerhouse which was followed by a look the U.S.-Mexico relationship from Enrique Velasco, Partner at SAI Consultants and former advisor to the President of Mexico where he led the negotiations on NAFTA. Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Foreign Affairs met with a smaller group of delegates to discuss NAFTA, the cross-border railroad, and Otay II among other topics. During the day, the Mayors of San Diego & Tijuana, Mexican Consul General Marcela Celorio, and Jerry Sanders held a press conference to express support for the U.S.-Mexico Relationship and our region’s commitment to cross-border collaboration. The evening ended with a truly memorable reception hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson.

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Day Two

Tuesday started with a breakfast meeting hosted by Citibanamex. The featured speakers included:

  • Dr. Sergio Luna, Director of Economic Research gave a presentation on Mexico’s Economic Outlook, NAFTA, and bilateral relations.
  • Carlos Sada, Undersecretary for North America at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE). Undersecretary Sada discussed North American integration and the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and how working together makes our countries a global powerhouse.

After the meeting at Citibanamex, delegates went to the Mexican Senate and met with Senators from commissions overseeing affairs of the border region and discussed issues critical to our region. During the meeting, the Chamber signed a formal agreement with the Senate which establishes a mechanism for collaboration and support between the Senate and our Chamber to promote and protect the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship. The agreement reaffirms the commitment to serve and defend the interests of a bilateral economy, as well as to create and promote business opportunities on both sides of the border through laws and initiatives that generate the highest levels of collaboration and business opportunities in the region. This is a true milestone for the trip and is 12 years in the making as we have been meeting with members of Senate and expanding and building our relationship since the start of these delegations. Our goal is that this will serve as model for other Chambers and business organizations across the border region.

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Day Three

Delegates began day three with a breakfast meeting sponsored by SIMNSA Health Plan which featured an open dialogue with over 10 members of the Mexican Congress led by Congresswoman Maria Luisa Sanchez of Tijuana. The discussion allowed delegates to explore topics of interest for our region directly with the Congressmembers. This meeting was followed by a look at Mexico’s private sector featuring a panel on Mexico’s innovation economy – a topic just as important as our meetings with government agencies. Panelists included Anheuser Busch and Grupo Bimbo who are launching their own accelerator programs to find the next big startups in Mexico. The panel was sponsored by Blue Box Ventures, the largest network of corporate incubators, accelerators and venture funds in Latin America. The trip closed with a candid and insightful conversation on NAFTA with Juan Carlos Baker Pineda, Undersecretary of Foreign Trade from the Secretariat of the Economy. Undersecretary Baker expressed Mexico’s open policy on trade and vision for the future in the continuation of what has been a successful relationship. As delegates departed they toasted to the end of a productive trip with farewell margaritas courtesy of the team at Blue Box Ventures. ¡Salud!

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