News & Updates

Intellectual Property & Innovation Roundtable

On July 7th, the Chamber partnered with the US Chamber to host an intimate roundtable with U.S. Representative Scott Peters on intellectual property and innovation. In San Diego County intellectual property is at the very center of the region’s vibrant and growing innovation economy. Rep. Peters highlighted his experience on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He entertained questions from the audience on patents, the repeal of the medical device tax, the carbon tax, National Institutes of Health funding, and trade/tariffs. Rep. Peters also shared his willingness to visit San Diego businesses to hear from employees and tour the organization. Reach out to Rep. Peters if your business is interested.

Council Votes on Vacation Rentals

On July 16th , San Diego City Council voted to adopt compromise regulation regarding short-term vacation rentals. Under the new rules, only residents who live in homes in San Diego can rent them out to visitors up to six months every year. Granny flats were not part of the discussion, and under current rules cannot be used for vacation rentals. This vote was crucial as it finally established a set of rules and regulations for vacation rentals in San Diego. The new regulation will begin mid-2019. In response, a referendum has been launched by short-term vacation rental companies who believe the new rules are too strict.

Trade Competitiveness and Customs Fair

On October 4 and 5, 2018, Tijuana’s Customs Secretariat (SAT) will be hosting the second Trade Competitiveness and Customs Fair at their headquarters located just south of the Otay Port of Entry. The Chamber, along other organizations, has partnered with SAT in joint efforts to increase our region’s global competitiveness through the promotion and facilitation of cross-border commerce.

The first fair took place earlier this year, with 322 business-to-business meetings connecting suppliers and vendors from both sides of the border, conferences and workshops on trade related subjects, and stands to promote products and services. With a successful first event, SAT is replicating the Trade Competitiveness and Customs fair in other states and organizing a second fair in Tijuana with the objective of increasing its reach and strengthening our binational region’s supply chain by including the cities of Tecate, Mexicali and Ensenada. Just as on the first fair, businesses are able to participate through three different dynamics:

  1. B2B meetings
  2. Conferences and workshops on trade related subjects such as NAFTA and tariffs, customs processing updates, and new regulations – Translators available depending on the topic.
  3. Stands to promote products and services (participating fee).

For event details, or to register, please email Kenia Zamarripa, Director of International Business Affairs, at

Tecate Chamber of Commerce Invitation to COCINARTE

The National Chamber of Commerce in Tecate extends an invitation to join them on August 25th for the 14th annual COCINARTE. This yearly event is a festival and exhibition featuring local restaurants, wineries and artisans. Organizers have offered shuttle transportation from and back to San Diego, to sign up or inquire for more information please contact Kenia Zamarripa, Director of International Business Affairs, at

ATISA’s Diamante Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Chamber member ATISA recently celebrated the opening of its 220,000 sq. ft. Diamante building. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the heart of Pacifico Industrial Park, and welcomed a range of brokers and business leaders from the San Diego area who enjoyed a taste of Baja’s world-famous cuisine and craft beer, behind-the-scene tours and networking with local government officials.

Diamante is one of six buildings set to be completed by the ATISA, along with a “new state-of-the-art” industrial park in the future.

Watch the ribbon cutting here.

Energy Prosperity for Both Sides of the Border

On September 26th and 27th, the NADBank will host its 23rd annual Border Energy Forum in San Antonio, TX. The forum will bring together local and state officials, developers and investors, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from both sides of the border. This year, speakers will address energy prosperity, innovation, financing, and cross-border opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships in order to advance energy objectives on both countries.

For event details and registration, please visit the forum’s website.

Cross-Border Forum – Infrastructure and Connectivity – The Path to Global Competitiveness

Last week, the Chamber’s Cross Border Business Forum focused on our region’s infrastructure and connectivity and their contribution to Cali-Baja’s global competitiveness. With an integrated supply chain worth over $2.5B, a binational community and tourist destination, Cali-Baja relies on its connectivity to move people and goods by land, sea, and air. This connectivity is possible via the region’s three major international airports, two deep-sea commercial ports, rail connections, highways and six land ports of entry.

Speakers kicked off the roundtable discussion covering the transportation and infrastructure aspect of the goods movement, including opportunities to further increase connectivity and boost our binational economy. The conversation also addressed the challenges of keeping up with a growing population and economy, as well as reducing our carbon footprint while remaining globally competitive.

Brendan Reed, Director of Planning & Environmental Affairs at the San Diego County Airport Authority, shared that the airport has a $12M economic impact on our region and 118,000 direct and indirect jobs are supported by it. Through open communication with Caltrans and partnership with SANDAG, the airport contributes to San Diego’s transportation plans. Looking into the future, the airport is working towards integrating new technologies to increase connectivity which includes replacing Terminal 1 with a modern and efficient facility. “Keep in mind that on each commercial flight there is also cargo being transported all over the U.S. and abroad” he added, “this is something often being overlooked”.

Moving on to the truck industry, Ryder’s Business Development Manager, Cy Mellet, explained how the lack of certified drivers has become a major challenge for the industry and cross-border trade. When asked about automobile technology improvements and their impact on the trucking industry, he explained that a substantial subsidy would be needed before we see electric or driverless trucks. However, due to the lack of drivers, there soon will be a demand for other options. Manuel Hernandez, CFO of Baja Railroad, added that their services come in as an alternative that removes trucks from highways and can reduce the time it takes to move goods across the border.

Furthermore, the carbon footprint of rail transportation is less of that of the amount of trucks it would take to mobilize cargo long distances. “What we cannot compete against- he explained- is the trucks’ flexibility to cross the border back and forward more often and at any time”. Regarding the need of truck drivers, Mr. Mellet added that visas allowing Mexican drivers to work in U.S. territory and/or for U.S. companies could help the industry overcome this challenge.

Mario Orso, Trade Corridor Director at Caltrans, along with Christina Casgar, Goods Movement Policy Manager at SANDAG, both explained how these agencies work together in different projects enhancing San Diego’s connectivity and transportation. For example, they partnered with the City of San Diego and City of Chula Vista to create a pilot program for automated vehicles allowing companies to test drive and share information. Caltrans and SANDAG also collaborate on SR-11 and the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, which is planned to be a toll facility connecting SR 905 and SR 125 to Corridor Tijuana-Rosarito 2000, further connecting with Ensenada and Tecate through Mexican federal highways. Mr. Orso highlighted the importance of advocacy efforts such as the Chamber’s delegation trips to Washington D.C. and Mexico City to share our region’s contribution to the economy of both countries, our region’s potential, and challenges that should be considered by decision makers.

To respond a question from our audience, speakers all shared how they each collaborate with the Mexican government, Tijuana Airport, and the State of Baja, joining forces to develop and implement transportation and infrastructure projects to further increase Cali-Baja’s connectivity and global competitiveness.

The Chamber’s next Cross-Border Business Forum will take place on October 17th, 10:00-11: 30 a.m., and will also be hosted at Club de Empresarios in Tijuana.





Mario Or


Border Legislative Academy Held in San Diego

The Chamber participated in last month’s Border Legislative Academy (BLA) held in San Diego for its second consecutive year and included state legislators from the U.S.- Mexico border states of Baja California, Coahuila, California, and New Mexico; as well as legislators from Colorado, Nevada, and Washington. The Council of State Governments West (CSG West) Chair, Utah Senator Stuart Adams, presided over the program introducing panelists and speakers, and served as Ambassador for CSG West and member states not represented in attendance.

Chamber VP Paola Avila spoke along with former Mexican Congressman David Perez Tejada and San Diego Councilman David Alvarez on a panel moderated by D.C. based Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute Deputy Director Chris Wilson. The panel shared stories of successful outcomes from binational collaboration with the intent to inspire those tasked with the unique privilege of governing in such a dynamic region.

IBA Director Appointed to International Affairs Board

On August 7th, Chamber Director of International Business Affairs, Kenia Zamarripa, was appointed by the San Diego City Council to the City of San Diego’s International Affairs Board. In her role on the board, Zamarripa will help promote San Diego’s global identity, create cultural connections, boost global economic competitiveness, and advise the Mayor and City Council on international issues and policies impacting San Diego.

City of San Diego Welcoming San Diego Initiative

In the past four months, the Welcoming San Diego steering committee which includes the Chamber, has organized and completed a series of community workshops in which input was gathered on how San Diego can better integrate and welcome immigrants into the community. This information will be used to produce a strategic plan which will be presented to the Mayor and Council for consideration.

The Chamber will help conduct focus groups to further enrich qualitative data for the strategic plan, incorporating the business community’s perspective and insight. Welcoming San Diego’s tentative launch date for the strategic plan is set for September 17th.

Also in our effort to help build a more inclusive and welcoming community, the Chamber connected the local International Rescue Committee with the Tijuana Xolos team who kindly made a donation of equipment to the IRC’s Refugee Girls Soccer program and spent an afternoon training with the girls.

To take the immigrant integration survey, please click here. To view collected data and download a copy of the report, visit WelcomingSD’s website.