When we relaunched World Trade Center San Diego in 2015 as an affiliate of EDC, it was with the goal to align the global competitiveness agenda of the region with its economic development priorities. The City, the Port, and the Airport Authority partnered with EDC to do just that, and we released a collaborative trade and investment strategy focused on growing exports, investment and global connectivity.
More than five years later, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Much is uncertain: for firms, for supply chains, for workers, and for communities. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected. San Diego’s economic evolution has demonstrated that global competitiveness and domestic resilience reinforce each other. Trade policy is national, but economies are regional, and jobs are local.
Today, with vaccine deployment underway, schools and offices reopening, and our first nonstop flight from Japan in a year landing at San Diego International Airport last month, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As we look to recovery, resilience, and indeed to growth, no time is better than now to think strategically about how we engage with the world. That is why, alongside civic and business leaders, we were proud to launch Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Trade and Investment strategy. This strategy leverages the region’s assets to expand exports, attract investment, and connect our region to the markets that matter most for growth:
- Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation-based industries.
- Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
- Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
- Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain, and expand service through international ports of entry.
- Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation. Deepen public-private partnerships’ on focused international activity.
The overarching goal of a global competitiveness strategy is not simply more, but also intentional trade and investment. When paired with a focus on expanding the pipeline of skilled talent for high-demand jobs, this critical work will enable the region—and its businesses, workers, and communities—to reach our growth and resiliency goals faster and get this recovery right.
There is much work to do, and as always, that work is only possible with and through all of you, our investors and partners. So, with gratitude and optimism, I’ll close with words from our friends at San Diego International Airport, “Let’s GO.”
Dr. Nikia Clarke
Executive Director, World Trade Center San Diego