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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Global San Diego: engaging world markets

January 31, 2014

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Throughout the nation, and the world, the role of metropolitans is becoming more pronounced. Due in part to political gridlock in D.C., metropolitans have become living incubators for ideas and innovation. Although the rise of the metropolitan region can be seen by anyone who picks up the paper or flips on the T.V., it’s the Brookings Institute that has given this movement new momentum.

San Diego is one region to embrace this "metropolitan first" ethos. This week, EDC – along with numerous regional partners – released the “Global San Diego Export Plan” which focuses on growing our metropolitan economy and creating jobs through exports. The release of the export plan is part of San Diego’s continued participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2012, San Diego was selected by Washington-based Brookings Institute as one of the first eight U.S. cities to participate in a national initiative to pioneer new strategies that boost exports and global economic competitiveness. The Global Cities Exchange has now grown to include 20 U.S. metropolitan areas.

A focus on exports means a focus on all sectors of San Diego’s economy, from the established defense and communications sectors to emerging industries such as craft beer. Companies that export not only grow faster, but are 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business. Additionally, if you work at a company that exports, on average, you will earn a 10-20 percent higher wage than you would if you worked at a company that didn’t export.

San Diego’s Core Team Partners are streamlining four strategies to implement the export plan:

·         Leveraging the diversity of regional markets

·         Developing and increasing small- and-medium-sized enterprises’ capacity to export

·         Concentrating on San Diego’s unique infrastructure assets

·         Leveraging the trade potential of the CaliBaja Bi-National Mega Region

A newly-formed Global Competitiveness Council, comprised of key leadership from the Core Team Partners including elected officials and university leadership, will move forward on implementation of the strategies and provide insight into the region’s trade and investment plans.

In San Diego, we’re not just exporting San Diego products; we’re exporting San Diego culture as well. Core Team Partners have included a Global Outreach component to encourage San Diegans to adopt a more global mindset and use this initiative as a platform for communicating San Diego’s global fluency.

In the coming weeks, the Core Team will continue to push out information regarding San Diego’s plan to increase exports.

In the meantime, here’s what Brookings and some members of the Global Competitiveness Council are saying about this plan:

Brad McDearman, fellow and director of Metro Trade and Investment at Brookings said: “San Diego was selected to be part of the Global Cities Exchange due to its unique cross-border dynamic, Pacific Rim location, demonstrated regional collaboration, and commitment to being more intentional about positioning the region globally. San Diego is a region with tremendous potential in international markets.”

Councilmember Mark Kersey, City of San Diego, 5th District said: “Expanding trade opportunities for San Diego companies is critical to our binational economy. Although we currently have companies utilizing our regional opportunities for trade and commerce, there is a lot more potential. This initiative will provide businesses with concrete information to help them tap into the unique opportunities being a border region provides," said

Thella Bowens, president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said: “The Airport Authority is pleased to see the concrete steps laid out in this plan to improve our region’s export potential, based on the market assessment completed last spring. In terms of air passengers, air cargo and aviation infrastructure, San Diego International Airport plays a crucial role in our region’s export performance. We are committed to working with our partner agencies and the City of San Diego to enhance the export potential of the region”

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO or San Diego Regional EDC said: “We know companies that export not only pay their workforce higher wages, but also create more jobs. This plan is a solid foundation to not only boost employment, but to also start shaping the region’s distinct global identity. The good news is that we have room to grow.”

Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking said: "Exports of goods and services represent a tremendous opportunity for San Diego businesses to grow and create jobs. The strategies outlined in this Export Plan will be instrumental to helping our region’s employers realize their export potential. The plan serves as a great example of the public-private sector collaboration that’s so critical to ensuring our region’s long-term economic success in a highly competitive global economy.”

Bob Nelson, chairman, Port of San Diego said: “Leaders throughout San Diego share a desire to improve our region’s competitiveness in global markets, which is driven in large part by our goods movement capacity at the Port of San Diego. With two marine cargo terminals, the Port of San Diego is a major player in our region’s export activity. The release of our Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Plan signals that our San Diego region as a whole is serious about offering businesses a simpler, easier path to exporting – and that we’re willing to work together to get there.”

More statements can be found here.


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