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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


WTCSD Q3 2018

September 26, 2018

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 20 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.

“Expanding San Diego’s global reach is vital to creating more local jobs for San Diegans and boosting our regional economy,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “The MetroConnect program and their growing companies are introducing innovative products and services to new international markets and sharing San Diego's story with the rest of the world."

From visual-aid tech startup Aira, to soap manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s, to top 10 Inc. 5000 company Scientist.com, the 2018 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

Now in its fourth program-year, the MetroConnect program equips small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services global. Program resources include:

  •  $10,000 in matching grants to cover up to 50 percent of the costs associated with international expansion, made possible by JPMorgan Chase and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and EDC’s 501(c)(3) Foundation
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Free export consulting with JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc. on ITAR/EAR regulations and other export activities; in-kind support by San Diego International Airpor
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and more
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo, and on Air Canada direct flights from San Diego to Canada. Assigned Lufthansa agent for direct flights from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany
  • Access to country representatives at the Japan External Trade Organization and the United Kingdom Government Office in San Diego
  •  Free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in June 2019

“JPMorgan Chase is proud to continue supporting the global expansion of San Diego businesses,” said Tim West, Executive Director and head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking practice in San Diego. “MetroConnect will empower these 20 local companies to grow in targeted international markets, and help them navigate many of the complex nuances of global business. MetroConnect’s track record speaks for itself, and we’re looking forward to seeing the program’s continued impact on the San Diego economy.”

Since the program’s debut in 2015, 45 MetroConnect alumni have collectively generated $15 million in new export sales, signed more than 116 new contracts, added 161 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen four successful company exits. Past participants include Calbiotech (now ERBA Diagnostics), Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (acquired by Human Longevity Inc.), Planck Aerosystems and many more.

“Amid increasing uncertainty over national trade policy, ensuring that local companies get the tools they need to be successful overseas is more important than ever.  We know that companies that export pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business, and become more competitive and resilient,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect program helps San Diego companies export their innovation around the world, which creates jobs and opportunities back here at home.”

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, it is more important than ever to support SMEs in going global. In 2015 alone, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. SMEs produce 92 percent of those goods – driving home the point of programs like MetroConnect. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.

For more information about MetroConnect, please visit MetroConnectSD.org.

The 2018 MetroConnect companies are:

1.       Aira

2.       Allett

3.       Arctic Zero, Inc.

4.       AtYourGate

5.       Bitchin' Sauce

6.       Cloudbeds

7.       Conectric Networks

8.       Dr. Bronner's

9.       Eddy Pump Corporation

10.   Epitope Diagnostics Inc.

11.   Hookit

12.   IPS Group Inc.

13.   KULR Technology Corp.

14.   LRAD Corporation

15.   MRP Training Solutions

16.   PKL Services

17.   Quality Controlled Manufacturing, Inc.

18.   Raveon Technologies Corporation

19.   Scientist.com

20.   Telaeris, Inc.


The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 20 companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international traction and more. This is up from just 15 companies in the first three years of the program. Applicants were assessed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Biocom, U.S. Commercial Service, Tech San Diego, Rough Draft Brewing, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC and WTC San Diego.

July 18, 2018

This week, WTC San Diego partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service team in San Diego to host a business roundtable led by Mr. Alan Turley, the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for China and Mongolia. With much at stake in the future of the U.S.-China relationship, DAS Turley’s visit presented seven local companies and institutions a chance to voice their concerns directly to a government official involved in formulating and negotiating U.S.-China trade policy and offered reassurance and guidance to those companies presently conducting business across borders so they may remain globally competitive.

The roundtable was particularly timely as it took place amidst growing concerns over steel and aluminum tariffs and less than two weeks after the Trump Administration announced it would impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods, worth $34 billion. The Administration is currently preparing an additional round of tariffs, worth $200 billion, in response to China's retaliatory tariffs.

 

July 12, 2018

Amid contentious political rhetoric and tightening borders, global trade and investment are top of mind for national leaders and companies alike. To contextualize the importance of such international connectivity, World Trade Center San Diego, with support from the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy, released “Trade and Competitiveness in North America,” a research summary that quantifies trade and competitiveness in the Cali Baja mega-region, spurred in part by the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“An integrated North American economy creates opportunity on both sides of the border. For every 10 jobs an American multinational creates in Mexico, it creates 25 in the United States,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director, World Trade Center San Diego. “As we look at a global economy where 95 percent of the world consumers live outside of North America, the ways we partner with Canada and Mexico to produce goods, services, and technology is crucial to our economic future.”

With nearly $3.6 billion in trade occurring daily between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and 14 million jobs in the U.S. supported by this trade within North America, NAFTA is one of the most beneficial and significant trade agreements in history – most especially to the Cali Baja mega-region, which includes San Diego County, Imperial County, and the State of Baja California.

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, Cali Baja’s global competitiveness is dependent on the $2.5 billion co-producing manufacturing supply chain that creates jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.

KEY STUDY FINDINGS:

  • Cali Baja’s foreign exports total $24.3 billion, of which $6.2 billion stay within the mega-region.
  • Mexico is California’s largest export market, with annual exports totaling $26.8 billion. Today, trade with Mexico supports more than 566,000 jobs in California.
  • Since NAFTA was signed, California exports to Mexico have grown by 311 percent.
  • Cali Baja produces commodities including medical devices, semiconductors, aerospace parts, and audio and video equipment. Together, the mega-region’s manufacturing sector directly employs 418,300 workers.
  • In the U.S., nearly 87 percent of manufacturing job losses from 2000 to 2010 were caused by productivity increases as opposed to the relocation of jobs attributed to trade.
  • More than 51 percent of trade within Cali Baja is in the service sector. These include:
    • $7.6 million in computer systems design and related services
    • $3.5 million in scientific R&D services
    • $2 million in software publishers

“It is clear that the cross border economic relationship plays a critical role in the Cali Baja mega-region in spurring economic growth, advancing technology, and enhancing lives on many levels,” said Melissa Floca, associate director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a top policy research center for U.S.-Mexico relations. “These findings underscore the importance of continued cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. to enhance the value we create as a region in services and advanced manufacturing.”

Cross border production sharing has made North America more integrated, more resilient, and more competitive; it has also served to insulate our economies from other global competitors like China. By 2020, however, more than half of all U.S. exports will be in services, not goods. Establishing a robust framework for IP protections, data transfer, and privacy will be essential in ensuring that North America remains competitive in the global economy.

“In the Cali Baja mega-region, we continue to strengthen our binational ties by working closely together to improve economic prosperity on both sides of the border,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who attended the launch event. “We’ve built that strong bond through the exchange of goods and we’re now seeing that expand to high-level services that cross the border thanks to the digital era we live in. This new study proves that free trade is working for our mega-region and why continued collaboration is so important.”

Read the full study here; also available in Spanish here.

For more research from San Diego Regional EDC – World Trade Center San Diego’s parent organization – please visit: sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

The report was produced by World Trade Center San Diego, with research support from Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy. The research was underwritten by SAMSUNG.