Mayoral hopefuls David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer reaffirmed their commitment to international trade Friday at a meeting at World Trade Center San Diego and vowed to make it a top priority should they be elected.
Both councilmen emphasized the importance of expanding trade and business opportunities with Mexico. Alvarez also made a plug for more collaboration with Asia, and Faulconer mentioned Australia. The World Trade Center is sending a delegation to Australia and New Zealand in February to that end.
“Everyone knows the figures — they’ve been thrown around so many times — billions of dollars of lost economic output because of border delays; and that’s very important,” Alvarez said.
“Eighteen Super Bowls a year is what that would mean to our economy. We always talk about building a Chargers stadium and getting Super Bowls here. Well, we have an opportunity to do that if we expand and grow our border commerce — there’s so much potential.”
Faulconer also stressed the importance of shortening border wait times, as well as increasing collaboration between Tijuana and San Diego.
“I had the opportunity to be down in Tijuana just a couple of months ago at an aerospace suppliers conference at the new convention center,” Faulconer said. “And not only was there opportunity for the flow of goods and services, but particularly from intellectual capital on both sides of the border that we can harness and that we can take advantage of.”
Faulconer and Alvarez also spoke about increasing San Diego’s export business, as a recent Brookings Institution study found that San Diego ranked 17th in exports among United States markets, but only 55th in exports as a share of local GDP.
“Your focus on a regional export strategy is the exact right approach,” Faulconer said. “What should we be doing, and how do we get our local companies to understand and have access to those markets, particularly on a regional basis? You will see my strong support for that.”
In addition to support from the mayor, Alvarez said increased state and federal support for trade initiatives is necessary, and ensuring that this happens will fall under the mayor’s jurisdiction.
“On the state and federal level, there’s more to be done,” Alvarez said. “We want to make sure that the state continues to fund the State Trade and Export Promotions Program, and that we in San Diego work with the World Trade Center and other organizations to tap into those resources.
"We get left behind a lot; they forget about us a lot. We need a mayor who’s going to be up there, who understands how Sacramento works, and who can go up there, say we need to get those dollars into our city, because we are just as important as L.A. and as San Francisco.”
202 C St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Sept. 23, 2014 -- George Chamberlin speaks with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer about the importance of the military on San Diego's economy at a presentation of the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s sixth annual Military Economic Impact Study.