August 29th marks the second anniversary of Tijuana EDC Day in San Diego, which celebrates the Tijuana Economic Development Council´s efforts in fostering binational collaboration for economic growth in the Tijuana-San Diego region. The day also recognizes the efforts of other leading public and private economic development organizations building bridges toward the region´s economic prosperity.
San Diego City Councilmember Mark Kersey, an active promoter of this binational region, proclaimed August 29, 2014 as Tijuana EDC Day as he has envisioned San Diego-Tijuana as the capital of entrepreneurship and business.
“Tijuana EDC´s contribution has been an integral part of our region’s economic development and prosperity,” said Kersey. “The organization has worked tirelessly to promote our mega-region and attract companies looking to expand. Under Christina Hermosillo’s leadership, Tijuana EDC is improving our collective future by providing innovative solutions to obstacles that can negatively impact our economy.”
The Tijuana-San Diego border region is one of the most important trade corridors for North America and Mexico, sharing a $230 billion economy according to Bloomberg News and a population of 6 million people.
“Instead of building a wall, we’re building a bridge. We don’t see the border as a divider; rather, it is something that unites us all,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council. “The CaliBaja region is a creative melting pot full of smart people and companies that are changing the world. By working together, we are creating a mega-region that serves more than 6 million diverse residents.
“Simply put, if other economic development organizations across the country had a partner like San Diego Regional EDC has in Tijuana EDC, economic development would be a much more collaborative world,” Cafferty went on. “I am lucky to work with Cristina and other leadership in Tijuana everyday that pushes us toward a common goal of regional prosperity.”
On this day, we recognize the pioneers that have fostered binational collaboration to address regional challenges” Said Christina Hermosillo, CEO of the Tijuana EDC. “The San Diego Regional EDC, South County EDC, CaliBaja, Imperial Valley, the Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, and San Diego Chambers of Commerce, SANDAG, Smart Border Coalition, the municipal governments of Tijuana and San Diego, U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana and Mexico´s Consulate General in San Diego, among many public/private organizations have all led this effort over the years.
“These binational business leaders’ deep understanding of our cross-border economic dynamics has driven both city’s governments to build close ties because it just makes economic sense to create regional strategies for common challenges. Since the beginning they have worked on getting their members’ support for binational initiatives for economic development, trade facilitation, cross-border infrastructure, security, and job creation.”
“The best way to attract investment into our region is by having San Diego and Tijuana join forces,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Both the private sector (business organizations such as TJ EDC and SDRCC) and public (ie. Mayor of SD & Mayor of Tijuana) must coordinate efforts. For example, Mayors and Governors from both sides of the border or representatives make joint delegation trips to other countries to promote the region or visit a company considering various sites for their future business expansion or relocation. A joint pitch with both private and public sector representatives sharing information about the region’s assets and government incentives are ideal. Because as a combined region, we are more competitive and actually, unbeatable globally.”
Mark Cafferty noted two key milestones in the collaboration with the Tijuana EDC:
Farnborough and Paris Airshows – Both San Diego and Baja have a high concentration of aerospace companies. There’s no better place to put this bi-national industry on display than the Farnborough and Paris International airshows, the world’s largest aerospace tradeshows. Since joining forces, we have made countless trips together – as one mega-region – to promote our collective aerospace industries.
ThermoFisher Scientific –With the collaborative efforts of Tijuana and San Diego Regional EDCs, the company was able to pilot a Software Center of Excellence in Tijuana. Although companies with operations on both sides of the border are not uncommon, ThermoFisher’s focus on high-wage tech jobs is indicative of the economic shift in Tijuana and Baja. Due to the success of this project, other San Diego companies are now expanding their software presence in Tijuana.
Cristina Hermosillo noted that the complimentary capabilities on both sides of the border make the region stronger, allowing it to market a globally competitive platform. While some people talk about walls and fences, Tijuana EDC and its partners will continue to look forward and find new ways to facilitate cross-border trade and business.