News & Updates

Register for “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” Conference – webcast available

Chamber VP Paola Avila, serving as Border Trade Alliance Chair, and The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute invite you to the sixth annual high-level “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” conference, which will focus on improving border management in order to strengthen the competitiveness of both the United States and Mexico.

Location: the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 20004 – webcast available

Date: Thursday, June 20; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Speakers list here.

Tijuana River Valley Transboundary Pollution Update

The Chamber met with regional stakeholders from both sides of the border to discuss initiatives and infrastructure projects to address the Tijuana River Valley transboundary pollution. This meeting was co-hosted by The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). The agenda included presentations from the North American Development Bank (NADBank), California Environmental Protection Agency, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, EPA, CBP, and IBWC.

In addition, Chamber Director of International Business Affairs Kenia Zamarripa, in her role as a member of the USIBW Citizens Forum, participated in a quarterly meeting where the community received a presentation from Mayor of Coronado Richard Bailey on the impact of polluted flows and the City’s strategy to minimize pollution. At each meeting, NADBank presented results from their evaluation of alternatives and solutions, which was overseen by the IBWC, EPA, Mexico’s National Commission of Water (CONAGUA), the State of Baja California’s Commission of Public Utilities (CESPT), and a group of stakeholders from the public and nonprofit sectors.

The assessment evaluated alternatives and infrastructure projects addressing transboundary pollution based on their contribution in reducing beach closures and transboundary flows per year, which for the last few years have averaged a total of 138 days. Alternatives included projects on both sides of the border, such as optimizing existing facilities with improvements in Mexico and a new lift station in the U.S. to discharge at the south bay international wastewater treatment plant for primary treatment only. NADBank’s conclusions highlighted that improving operation and maintenance on the existing system would reduce transboundary flows by nearly 30 percent (down to 98 days per year), Mexican-side alternatives would be the most cost-effective, and continued investment in infrastructure outside the diversion system is necessary.

The Chamber continues to advocate for the U.S. and Mexican governments to design a work plan between both governments to increase measurable efforts in mitigating the pollution and minimizing/eliminating water deficits to the U.S. Next steps focus on evaluating top alternatives to determine a joint cross-border plan of action that stakeholders from both sides of the border can advocate for and advance together.

California State Senator Ben Hueso introduced SB 690 requiring the San Diego Water Board to negotiate an interagency agreement whereby the state would direct the planning, design, permitting, and construction of a project to capture sediment, solid waste, and polluted flows in the Tijuana River. In addition, the bill requires an equal match on funding for the project, and the federal government would take responsibility for the ownership, operation, and maintenance of the project. The Chamber’s International Affairs Committee voted in support of the bill, with suggested amendments by the City of Imperial Beach.

Baja California Elections held June 2

The Chamber’s Cross-Border Business Forum provided a look into Baja California’s elections. Political journalists and pollsters discussed candidates’ proposals in relation to cross-border priorities such as infrastructure and growing our binational economy. The top three priorities for citizens during the election were:

  • Security
  • Transportation, and
  • Economic Development

Panelists were in agreement that all parties faced one major challenge: over 60 percent of voters had not participated in the previous five elections.

On June 2, Baja California citizens elected a new governor, five local mayors and twenty-five state representatives. It was estimated that nearly 30 percent of the population voted, and Mexico’s National Institute of Elections shared the following results:

Baja’s Governor: Jaime Bonilla Valdez, 50.38 percent of votes.


  • Marina del Pilar, City of Mexicali;
  • Arturo González, City of Tijuana;
  • Armando Ayala, City of Ensenada;
  • Zulema Adams, City of Tecate; and
  • Araceli Brown, City of Playas de Rosarito

All of the newly elected officials are affiliated with the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the same political party as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. These elections ended thirty years of political leadership by Mexico’s National Action Party (PAN). Baja California was also the first state to overturn the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1989.

The Chamber looks forward to continued collaboration with the State of Baja and its mayors to facilitate trade and grow our binational region’s economic development, as well as continue strengthening the bilateral relationship with our top commercial partner.

Economic threat averted: No tariffs on imports from Mexico

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce released the following statement from President and CEO Jerry Sanders about the agreement between the U.S. and Mexico preventing the implementation of tariffs on imports from Mexico:

“This is welcomed news by the thousands of businesses across the U.S. that were grappling with the uncertainty these threats cause. We are optimistic that this new agreement will prevent further threats – and we can refocus efforts on passing USMCA and securing a prosperous and mutually beneficial relationship with our country’s number one trading partner.”

The Chamber and trade organizations across the country spent the previous ten days lobbying against the tariffs as such a move would have disrupted our region’s highly integrated supply chain resulting in increased production costs and ultimately job losses in the U.S. However, the possible imposition of tariffs continues as the White House reconsiders its position in the coming weeks. Not only are these tariffs bad for our local businesses and economy but they hurt our chances of getting the USMCA approved. As such, we are continuing the pressure in D.C. to oppose tariffs and secure support for USMCA.

In addition to issuing letters to the administration and Congress, the Chamber issued press statements and signed onto the US Chamber business community statement of 140 associations supporting the adoption of the USMCA and opposing tariffs on Mexican imports.

Our position was covered by several media outlets, click here to view media.