BORDER MAYORS COME TOGETHER IN SAN YSIDRO TO ADVOCATE FOR CROSS-BORDER COMMERCE, JOBS & OPEN TRADE
San Diego – Standing at the front door of the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere, San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum today convened border mayors and leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada to urge federal leaders in Washington to support the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement and continue their ongoing effort to make the region one of the most prosperous in the world.
“There has never been a more important time for San Diego to champion international trade,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Trade, open dialogue and collaboration create jobs and economic prosperity for Americans, Canadians and Mexicans alike. That’s why we are calling on federal leaders to preserve and modernize NAFTA for the benefit of future generations.”
NAFTA was negotiated in 1994 to remove barriers to the exchange of goods and services, spur economic growth, create jobs and enhance North American competitiveness. It has since been credited with growing trade between Mexico and the U.S. to $60 billion annually and supporting the flow of $920 million worth of goods to Canada, San Diego’s second-largest trading partner. NAFTA is also credited with supporting 14 million jobs between the three countries.
“We are here with a single goal of sending a message, clear, respectful, but at the same time, urgent and energetic, to our federal authorities on both sides of the border, which they have in their hands the great responsibility to renegotiate North American Free Trade Agreement,” Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said.
Mayors Faulconer and Gastélum are pushing for the modernization of NAFTA in several ways:
- Encouraging clear and straight-forward rules of trade to ensure that all small and medium-sized businesses have the opportunity to participate
- Supporting tariffs and fees generated at all borders should be dedicated to border infrastructure, modernization and staffing
- Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to border security
- Renegotiating should be conducted with urgency to minimize economic impacts
“It is more critical than ever to prioritize environmental protections, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainable cities during the bilateral talks on renegotiating NAFTA,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.
The call to preserve and modernize NAFTA comes ahead of a delegation trip to Washington, D.C., where Mayors Faulconer, Gastélum and representatives from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce are scheduled to advocate for cross-border commerce and open trade. It also comes just two weeks after Faulconer, Gastélumand fifteen binational border mayors signed a formal resolution calling for continued efforts to engage and inform federal leaders about the modernization of NAFTA.
“Lines on a map should not, and don’t, ever define us. We are a mega-region that will only succeed as we build bridges,” said National City Mayor Ron Morrison.
Today marks the first day of trilateral negotiations between the United States, Mexico and Canada. Negotiations are set to take place in Washington, D.C., and expected to take several months.
“The North American Free Trade Agreement’s track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation. Nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, and over one million of those are in California,” said Canadian Consul General James Villeneuve. “Negotiations have begun today in Washington, and Canada welcomes the opportunity to modernize the NAFTA. This is an opportunity to better align NAFTA to new realities in trade and investment and keep North America competitive.”