News & Updates

Chamber Celebrates Third Annual Tribute Gala

tribute1Friday, the Chamber hosted its third annual International Tribute Awards Gala to recognize outstanding individuals and businesses who have made a significant impact in bridging together the U.S. and Mexican economies. Congressman Juan Vargas delivered the keynote address as the evening’s honored guest, and both Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Xavier Peniche, Secretary of Economic Development for the City of Tijuana, provided updates on their respective cross-border agendas.

This year, our Tribute Awards honorees were:

  • Tibute2Congressman Juan Vargas, “Cross Border Leadership” award recipient, in
    recognition of his long-time commitment to our border region and leadership in
    securing full funding for the San Ysidro Port of Entry, and
  • Pacific Imperial Railroad and Baja California Railroad, “Cross Border
    Collaboration” award recipients for their joint efforts to reestablish the binational

A special thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to making this another wonderful event. Don’t forget to sign up for our policy newsletter and stay updated on the Chamber’s efforts to drive our binational region forward through cross-border commerce and relationships.

For more information about the event, visit our photo album on Facebook or view our recap video below:

Chamber Supports City’s Cost of Service Study for Water Rates

Chamber staff members attended a City Council hearing regarding the possible decision to increase water rates by 9.8 percent in January and 6.9 percent in July. Although an increase of fees would impact San Diego businesses, the Chamber agrees the measure is necessary to secure a safe and reliable water supply for the region.

Another hearing will take place November 17.

Chamber Talks Climate Change on KPBS

skarafinExecutive Director, Sean Karafin, joined KPBS to discuss Senate Bill 350, California’s new legislation which requires state-regulated utilities to increase energy-efficiency by 50 percent and achieve 50 percent renewable electricity usage by 2030. Although in support of action to address climate change, the Chamber opposes this legislation, as it lacks details regarding execution which may prove to be very costly to Californians:
“Across the state, as people have to spend more to get those expensive renewable resources, that’s going to hurt people who can least afford [it] as a percentage of their income.”

POLICY WIN: Governor Brown Signs “Made in USA” Legislation

Last month, Governor Brown signed legislation to expand the definition of “Made in USA” for California businesses which manufacture “all or virtually all” of its product parts domestically. The Chamber supports this legislation as it provides consumers with accurate information about businesses that support American jobs.

POLICY WIN: Pacific-to-Plate Legislation Signs into Law

Last Thursday, Chamber sponsored legislation, Assembly Bill 226, authored by Speaker Toni Atkins was signed into law. The bill, known as “Pacific to Plate”, makes it easier for communities to have fishermen’s markets similar to farmers’ markets. With the region’s valuable Blue Economy, this bill removes barriers and increases opportunities for jobs and access to healthy seafood locally.

Click here to learn more.

POLICY WIN: Governor Brown Announces AB 504 Veto

Last Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez which sought to smother Civic San Diego with bureaucratic oversight. In response, Chamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders, along with Downtown Partnership President & CEO Kris Michell, released a joint statement in support of the veto:

“Governor Brown’s veto ensures Civic San Diego’s mission to advance transformation change in our urban neighborhoods continues. The Downtown Partnership and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce look forward to supporting Civic as the carry on creating jobs, providing affordable housing and attracting billions of dollars in private investment to the region…”

Wilson Center and North American Research Partnership Clusters Report Launch

paola wilsonLast month, Chamber VP Paola Avila spoke at an event in support of a recent initiative to identify, map and analyze key industries within the binational region. As trade between the United States and Mexico has grown six-fold since NAFTA was introduced 21 years ago, this “cluster-based” approach to economic development seeks to strengthen the international business climate in order to encourage the flow of new ideas and generate new business opportunities to the region.

Click here for the full report.

Chamber Team Leads Second Business Visit to Tijuana

12031460_1242159255810455_8501641550685842486_oChamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders, along with VP Paola Avila, joined San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán in a tour of Tijuana’s largest medical device manufacturers, Welch Allyn and Metronic. As the Cali-Baja region represents the largest concentration of medical device companies, this trip was an excellent opportunity to discuss various ways to support and attract new companies to the region.

Click here for the full story (Spanish).

Governor Brown Vetoes SB 249

Last Wednesday, Governor Brown vetoed Senate Bill 249, the legislation that – if passed – would authorize California DMVs to issue enhanced driver’s licenses proving U.S. citizenship. The Chamber has strongly supported SB 249, as enhanced licenses would increase the speed and efficiency of cross-border travel.

The Chamber team plans to revisit the issue soon.

Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization Moves Forward

Following our recent delegation trip to Washington, D.C., the Chamber achieved a major step towards the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank by gaining the necessary amount of petition signatures to send the Ex-Im issue to Congress for a vote. The Chamber is in strong support of the Ex-Im Bank, as it remains a vital component for small companies wishing to compete at the global market.

To sign on to a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, please contact our staff.