San Diego business leaders have teamed up with Mexican lawmakers to launch a coordinated effort toward protecting the commercial interests of people across the US-Mexico border in the upcoming negotiations over the North American free trade agreement (NAFTA)
The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with Mexico’s Senate, saying it will do everything it can to protect the key elements of the trade pact.
The agreement calls for forming a working group involving business leaders and politicians from the San Diego-Tijuana region, as well as members of the Mexican Senate. The working group will meet twice a year through 2018, the year when NAFTA negotiations are likely to be ended.
Mexico is San Diego’s number one export market, with the border city selling goods worth about $5.5 billion to Mexico every year. There are more than 110,000 jobs dependent on the trade with Mexico, according to the chamber.
The business leaders told Mexican media that they are trying to create awareness in both Washington D.C. and Mexico City about the importance of the trade deal for people and businesses in the border region.
First and foremost, Washington should ease the suffocating atmosphere in ports of entry, they argued. Approximately 40,000 people live in Tijuana and work in San Diego, many of whom are daily commuters.
As President Donald Trump went on criticizing Mexico over illegal immigration, security agents tightened up border control in these ports of entry along the border. Businesses say they are the victims of political rhetoric.
The Mexican Senate is likely to reach similar agreements with other U.S. border cities.