News & Updates

Member Spotlight: Crowne Plaza San Diego-Mission Valley

Crowne Plaza San Diego-Mission Valley is located minutes from popular San Diego attractions including SeaWorld, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, Old Town and the Gaslamp district. Guests staying with us have easy access to Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla Shores Park, La Jolla Cove, and Mission Bay Park. These are great places to experience everything San Diego beaches have to offer.

Our property will have you relaxed and ready to enjoy your vacation, business travel, or whichever occasion brings you to the hotel. The property’s large outdoor pool and spa are located in the central courtyard.

There are three dining options directly at the hotel: The Kona Café, Islands Sushi Grill & Bar, and The Islands Restaurant

The Kona Café and Islands Sushi Grill & Bar are great choices for both on the go items and a place to relax with great food. Be sure to try some of our award winning sushi.

The Islands Restaurant is a casual, family friendly restaurant featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is served from 6:00 am to 10:30 am daily. The restaurant offers both a buffet option and a full range of menu items as well including pancakes, french toast, and omelettes. Seating is available inside or out on our patio overlooking the tropical poolside area.

With 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, our resort is a great place to host your next event. This is the perfect environment for military reunions, corporate meetings, association gatherings, and conventions of all kinds. From meeting spaces to hotel rooms, the Crowne Plaza San Diego – Mission Valley has you covered for a memorable stay.


Member Spotlight: Optical Connection

We are a contact lenses distributor based in Rancho Bernardo, specializing in disposable contact lenses. Since our inception in 2002, our company has never wavered from our original mission: to act as a staunch ally to independent eye care professionals (ECPs). Over the years, we had forged close relationships with our doctors in order to provide their patients with the best, affordable contact lenses. Our brand products: Definition AC, BioCurve, Focal Point, and A+ Wave are currently being sold by our doctors from the US, Canada, and South America.

Forming Connections

We are committed to serve our ECPs directly or indirectly through our partnered distributors. We refrain from working with online retailers or mass merchandisers to ensure exclusivity and profit for our doctors. We also provide friendly customer service for a pleasant experience in communication with our company.

The Bare Necessities

We provide quality lenses comparable to popular products on the market without all the flair. Our wearer’s comfort and eyesight come first. Fancy packaging and catchy ads may come second.

Price without Compromise

Our simplistic packaging design and focused marketing strategy allow us to forgo inflated pricing on our products, guaranteeing that your patients will enjoy the most affordable pricing.

Eric Lee
Executive Assistant to the President
Optical Connection International Corp.

Community Partner: American Red Cross San Diego / Imperial Counties

The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. We serve more than 3.6 million people and cover nearly 10,000 square miles in San Diego and Imperial Counties as well as American Samoa.

Local Red Cross programs include:

Our region responds to a local emergency nearly every 24 hours and is supported by more than 2,000 volunteers. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

We provide programs for businesses, too. Ready Rating is a free online program offered by the Red Cross that helps businesses, schools and organizations become prepared for disasters and other emergencies. Ready Rating members have access to one-of-a-kind tools, resources and information for evaluating and improving their ability to withstand disaster, maintaining operations, and protecting lives and property. Whether you’re taking your first steps or have a fully-functioning emergency management program, the Ready Rating program can help you achieve a higher level of preparedness.

You can be “Red Cross Ready” for an emergency or disaster by following three simple steps: 1) Get a Kit, 2) Make a Plan and 3) Be Informed. Disasters can and do strike without notice. Completing these three steps will help you and your family be more prepared in the face of disaster.

Prepare San Diego is a regional resiliency initiative to help prepare the San Diego region for human emergencies and disasters. Through Prepare San Diego, we aim to facilitate a cultural shift to increase individual, community and business preparedness. Get the peace of mind and take the steps to be prepared! Visit for resources and checklists to help you be prepared and resilient.

For more information about the local Red Cross, please visit

Participate in the Homelessness Point in Time Count

San Diego needs you to help us account for our homeless! Volunteers are needed for the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Point in Time Count on Friday, January 25th. Join leaders, advocates, and community members and help us understand the needs of our region’s homeless population. Find a check-in location near you at

Chamber’s Response to the President’s Oval Office Address Regarding Immigration and Border Security

Last week, President Trump delivered his first Oval Office address portraying our border in a negative light which adversely impacts our regional economy both in the short and long term. The Chamber’s advocacy for a secure, reliable, and efficient border focuses on policies and funding for our ports of entry, increased staffing and comprehensive immigration reform.

Chamber Vice President of International Business Affairs, Paola Avila, spoke with the San Diego Union-Tribune in response to the national address and reiterated the Chamber’s position.  “We agree that we need a secure border, but we believe that we have a secure border” she added, “Our border region is an opportunity zone, not a danger zone”.

With an integrated manufacturing supply chain worth $2.5 billion, the Cali Baja region critically depends on its cross-border connectivity and efficient movement of goods which accounts for a gross regional product of $255 billion. Mexico is the largest trading partner for 22 states including California.

Rep. Cesar Blanco (TX) highlighted that President Obrador recently presented an initiative to strengthen economic investments in the border region and “we need to look at doing the same, start focusing on how we can partner with Mexico to make sure our region thrives economically”. Blanco suggested investing in technology in order to have safe and secure trade, which “creates business, jobs, and opportunities for our region”.

2019 Binational Delegation to Mexico City

Over the past year, issues surrounding trade, border security, the environment, and infrastructure improvements have put a spotlight on our border region. Now, with a new Presidential administration in Mexico, it is important that we share our region’s story of successful collaboration and reaffirm our commitment to the U.S.-Mexico relationship. We can’t do it alone. We need all the voices that make up our diverse and dynamic cross-border business community to make a strong, lasting impact. That message is most effective when we have a large, diverse representation of business and community leaders joining with us.

This Chamber’s upcoming Binational Delegation to Mexico City will take place from March 31 to April 3, 2019. We are happy to announce our continued partnership with the Four Seasons hotel who offers our delegates a discounted rate.

As a delegate, you will have the opportunity to meet with key federal officials and diverse business industry leaders to discuss trade and investment opportunities while helping us cultivate political and business relationships. International policy priorities for this year’s delegation include: U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (NAFTA 2.0)border infrastructure, transboundary pollution, immigration/workforce integration, private & public sector partnerships, and foreign investment opportunities in Mexico.

Early bird registration pricing deadline is Friday, February 15th.

For event details and to register, please visit our website.

Cross-Border Business Forum: Trends in Trade and Tariffs

Nearly $3.6 billion in trade takes place daily between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, and 14 million jobs in the U.S. are supported by trade within North America. The CaliBaja region is globally competitive because of our strong collaborative relationship. In fact, San Diego and Baja California’s integrated manufacturing supply chain is valued at $2.5 billion. Much of this can be attributed to trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which have had a positive impact on the growth of our region.

As the revised trilateral agreement – now called USMCA (T-MEC in Mexico) – heads to Congress for consideration, there is much to learn about this new agreement and its potential impacts. Join us for a presentation and roundtable discussion with John G. Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Murphy will provide an overview on where U.S. trade policy is headed and present an early assessment of the revised trade agreement for North America. Murphy has led successful campaigns to win congressional passage of trade agreements with a dozen nations, including Colombia, Panama, and South Korea in 2011, as well as Trade Promotion Authority in 2015.

Date/Time: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Location: San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Boardroom

For event details and to register, please visit our website.

NAFTA 2.0 Informational Forum in Partnership with CCE

A revised trilateral agreement was reached last September which will govern more than $1.3 trillion worth of trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. If approved, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. While the two documents are largely similar, USMCA updates various chapters in NAFTA and includes additional chapters which were included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

The Chamber has partnered with various organizations to hold a series of informational forums to build support for the trade agreement. We are proud to partner with Consejo Coordinador Empresarial Tijuana and thank them for co-hosting our upcoming forum which will take place Friday January 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Club de Empresarios in Tijuana. Attendees will be welcomed by Kurt Honold, President of CCE and member of the Chamber’s International Business Affairs Committee.

This forum will provide an overview of the revised agreement, next steps in the ratification process and insight from private and public sector stakeholders as to the possible impacts on our binational region.

For event details and to register, please visit our website.

Mexico’s “Free Zone” Program

President López Obrador visited Tijuana earlier this month to present a new program he calls Zona Libre or “Free Zone” which aims to encourage economic development along Mexico’s northern border. This decree is now in effect through 2020.

The Free Zone covers the entire 1954 mile border with the U.S. and an area of 12 to 16 miles from the international boundary into Mexico. This includes 44 municipalities among Mexico’s six border states which includes Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Rosarito, and Ensenada in the Baja region.

With this program, President López Obrador intends to encourage border residents to increase their domestic consumption to boost the local economy. With an overall economic growth of 3.1 percent from 2013 to 2017 and exceeding the national average of 2.6 percent, Mexican Secretary of Economy Gabriela Márquez Colin stated that the administration plan is to incentivize growth even further.

The Free Zone program includes a series of incentives for Mexico’s northern border including:

  • Reduced value added tax (IVA) from 16% to 8%
  • Reduced corporate income tax (ISR) from 30% to 20% (restrictions apply)
  • Matching fuel and electricity rates to be competitive with the U.S. prices in U.S. cities along the border
  • Doubled the minimum wage to $176 pesos per day (about $9 USD)

President López Obrador will return to Baja California in three months to evaluate results and make appropriate revisions as part of his national economic development plan. The Chamber’s analysis of the program and feedback provided from the business community is positive. The President’s focus on the border region and acknowledgement as an economic engine gives us great optimism. We will continue to monitor and evaluate impacts in order to provide comments to the Administration.

To review the Free Zone Program Decree by President López Obrador, click here (this document is only available in Spanish).To review Deloitte’s strategic analysis of the program, click here.

California State Legislature Reconvenes

As a new two-year legislative cycle kicks off, there remains plenty of unfinished business from 2018. Things to watch: housing will continue to be top of mind, bills that focus on planning for increased density along transit corridors, local jurisdiction accountability to meet housing targets, and more controversial ideas like rent control will be a major focus for Chamber policy staff.