San Diego’s Changing Business Landscape: Increasing optimism despite continued challenges

Welcome to the third edition in EDC’s Changing Business Landscape Series, which will be published bi-monthly in the San Diego Business Journal and here on our blog. If you missed them, check out the March and May editions.

Surveying the changing business landscape in San Diego

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life, including how businesses operate. Companies in every industry are rapidly re-evaluating how they do business, changing the way they interact with customers, manage supply chains, and where their employees are physically located. This has massive immediate and long-term implications for San Diego’s workforce and job composition, as well as regional land use decisions and infrastructure investment.

To identify evolving trends in local business needs and operations, ensuring their ability to grow and thrive in the region, EDC is surveying more than 200 companies in the region’s key industries on a rolling basis throughout 2021 to monitor and report shifts in their priorities and strategies. In addition, EDC constructed the San Diego Business Recovery Index (BRI)—a sentiment index to measure companies’ perceptions of current conditions, as well as expectations for the future across several factors such as business development, employment and commercial real estate needs. (An index value >50 reflects expansion, and a value <50 reflects contraction. More information on the index and how it is calculated is available here.)

These insights will help inform long-term economic development priorities around talent recruitment and retention, quality job creation, and infrastructure development. Companies are surveyed on several topics, with varying emphases in each wave.

Here are three key findings from the third wave of surveying conducted in June 2021:

  1. We are amid a great talent reshuffling. Businesses report increasing difficulty hiring and retaining talent, meanwhile the quits rate is at historic highs.
  1. Supply chains remain knotted up. The strategic importance of our cross-border trade has never been clearer.
  1. Space needs are in flux as companies prepare for return to office. Demand for office space may be waning, but life sciences companies are looking to add lab space.

San Diego County firms built on the enthusiasm expressed in April’s survey, with the BRI advancing from 58.9 in April to 63.7 in June. The topline index was pulled higher by more upbeat views of, both, present conditions and expectations for the future. The present conditions index segment rose from 56.1 in April to 59.3 in June while the expectations segment climbed from 65.4 to 73.9 during that time. Business respondents in the region confirmed several trends that have made headlines recently. Companies stated that business conditions have improved significantly over the past two months (due in no small part to California’s reopening in June) while also noting that sourcing talent and suppliers has become significantly more difficult.

A great talent reshuffling

Companies reported that revenues and earnings have improved since April and thus optimism over the next six to 12 months has increased. Expectations are also strong in San Diego’s Innovation cluster. Businesses in this group conveyed that they plan to hire more aggressively in the coming months. This is particularly good news, since each new Innovation job supports another two jobs elsewhere in the regional economy.

Nonetheless, companies also reported having a tougher time attracting new talent as well as increased difficulty retaining existing workers. There has been much ado about labor shortages and the impact of increased and extended unemployment benefits, but the data show that there is a much more nuanced story. First, there is a large mismatch between the talent in-demand and the talent available to work. As of May (most recently available data at time of writing), there were 104,400 people unemployed in the San Diego region and more than 115,000 job openings. However, the top hiring industries are Administrative and Support Services, Professional Services and Manufacturing industries (nearly 40 percent of unique postings), whereas the bulk of the unemployed come from Leisure and Hospitality.

Second, there are record numbers of workers quitting their jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the proportion of workers who voluntarily leave their job relative to total employment. This “quit rate” sat at 2.5 percent in May 2021 after falling from 2.8 percent in April—the highest ever recorded. The Conference Board survey’s labor market differential, another measure of views on whether jobs are plentiful or hard to get, vaulted from 36.9 in May 2021 to 43.5 in June. That is the highest level since 2000.

All this quitting not only reflects confidence in the availability of work, but also the changing needs and desires of workers. The San Diego Association of Governments surveyed both employers and employees earlier this year and found that only 36 percent of employers expect to have one or more employees working from home at least one day per week. Meanwhile 44 percent of employees surveyed expect to work from home an average of 1.2 days per week. This difference in expectations partly reflects differences in opinion of how remote work has impacted productivity—only nine percent of employers reported increased productivity during the pandemic versus 48 percent of employees.

Flexibility will be key to keeping and attracting the best and brightest of workers. Perhaps the companies EDC surveyed understand this better than most, as they indicated both improved efficiencies from, as well as increased planned future utilization of, remote work technologies in June compared to April.

Investing in supply chains locally, binationally

Hiring challenges are also impacting supply chains globally. Companies reported a sharp decrease in the accessibility and reliability of their suppliers and vendors. Here, BRI fell from 54.7 in April to a categorical low of 26.5 in June. This corroborates the headlines regarding shortages in lumber and microchips, which has in turn stalled production of higher end goods and led to spikes in commodity prices and other item such as used cars. A lot of these supply chain disruptions are temporary in nature, directly linked to safety measures and restrictions associated with pandemic (this is why longer-term inflation expectations remain stable).

Ports and businesses across the country have experienced ongoing shortages of labor, containers, truck chassis, and more; shipping vessels have been forced to wait in harbors, in some cases for more than two weeks. This global traffic jam has impacted schedule reliability so profoundly it has forced companies to revisit the ways in which they manage risk. Many companies have moved from a just-in-time strategy to just-in-case. This means firms now keep additional inventory on hand, anything from raw materials to the final product. The lack of supply and rising costs have disproportionately impacted small and mid-market suppliers and buyers. This has resulted in direct capital investment from smaller buyers into smaller suppliers to stabilize supply chains and build necessary redundancies.

The pandemic-induced constraint on the movement of goods has only exacerbated trends from the past few years. Trade wars, changing consumer behavior, and e-commerce were already disrupting global supply chains, all of which has highlighted the strategic importance of supply chain management as well as the region’s bi-national assets. The Cali Baja Binational Mega Region is already vertically integrated in Manufacturing, and a warehousing boom in Otay Mesa is increasing capacity for goods coming via land and sea. Cali Baja is an ideal location for companies that want to move operations closer to home but maintain a binational advantage. Continued investment in trade infrastructure, such as our ports of entry and direct route service, will further cement Cali Baja as a binational innovation hub.

The return to office will be in a lab

Back in April, companies indicated a modest desire to increase their physical footprint upon returning to the office. However, companies appear to be less sure as the return approaches. In June, companies expressed plans for a net reduction of space, but a deeper dive into the responses reveals that it is demand for office space that is waning. In fact, there is increasing demand for commercial space—life sciences companies in need of laboratory space. This reflects the influx of investment and rapid hiring we are seeing in these industries, as they lead the fight against the global pandemic. Fortunately, there is nearly 10 million square feet of industrial and flex space across San Diego County currently available for lease or purchase that could potentially accommodate this demand. Current hot spots include Sorrento Valley, Vista, and Otay Mesa; Downtown San Diego is also building capacity rapidly.

The headline story is a positive one for San Diego’s economy, but sentiment is far from identical across business sizes and industries. For example, small companies with fewer than 50 workers logged BRI of 53, which is modestly in expansionary territory, while companies with 250 or more employees measured an index value of 63.7. This makes sense, because San Diego’s Leisure and Hospitality businesses tend to be smaller establishments and were the hardest hit during the pandemic. While companies are enthusiastic to get back to full capacity and add workers, it will likely take a few more months for supply chains and the labor market to normalize again. The pandemic is a generational disruption with widespread ramifications, accelerating several trends already underway, including how and where people are willing to work.

Stay tuned for more on San Diego’s changing business landscape. EDC will be back every other month with more trends and insights. For more data and analysis visit: sandiegobusiness.org/research.

Take the next survey here

This research is made possible by:

WTC San Diego’s Global Brief: July 2021

Each month, World Trade Center San Diego delivers the latest global news and updates straight to your inbox. In July 2021, here’s what you need to know about San Diego’s global trade, investment, and engagement:

WTCSD helps Funki Adventures secure COVID-19 relief

Through the Export Specialty Small Business Development Center at WTCSD, Funki Adventures secured nearly $10,000 in relief in EIDL and California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant funds. The funds helped Funki Adventures pivot to serve domestic customers and purchase enhanced cleaning equipment to keep the company open and operating safely.
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Export Finance: What your business should know

WTCSD joined experts from United States Small Business Administration (SBA), Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), and key lenders to discuss export finance resources for San Diego businesses. Here are three things your business should know about financing, resources, and important export partners.
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GCC recap: State of the global supply chain 

WTCSD recently convened its quarterly Global Competitiveness Council (GCC) to discuss supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. While San Diego companies have a few more challenging months ahead, there is light at the end of the tunnel, especially in e-commerce.
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san diego news

Events

GROW YOUR COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO ↓

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies—free of charge—to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego.

  • Export Specialty Center: For small companies interested in learning about exporting and international growth.
  • MetroConnect: For small and medium sized companies ready to export and grow internationally.

Plus: Get WTCSD’s Global Brief, monthly global news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

GCC recap: State of global supply chain

Last month, World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego convened its quarterly gathering of the Global Competitiveness Council (GCC), an advisory group consisting of senior executives from many of San Diego’s most globally facing brands. This quarter, the discussion focused on the extraordinary, global disruption we have seen in the supply chain and logistics space amid COVID-19 and other factors.

The GCC welcomed the following industry experts to share their insights:

  • Eduardo Acosta, vice president, R.L. Jones Customhouse Brokers
  • David Adler, head of procurement and manufacturing, Cubic Corporation
  • David Arida, senior vice president, Dexcom
  • Leslie Oliver, director, global supply chain, Solar Turbines
  • Hyoduk Shin, Ph.D., professor of innovation and operations, UC San Diego Rady School of Management (moderator)

Trade wars and a pandemic constrained the movement of goods in the past few years, while changing consumer behavior, characterized by a record-breaking uptick in online sales, further strained the supply chain system. As a result, ports and businesses across the country have experienced ongoing shortages of labor, containers, truck chassis, and more, while ocean-going vessels have been forced to wait in harbors, in some cases for more than two weeks. This global traffic jam has impacted schedule reliability and forced companies to revisit the ways in which they manage risk.

A few takeaways from the session:

  • The pandemic has highlighted the strategic importance of supply chain in most organizations.
  • With schedule reliability down across the supply chain, many companies have moved from a just-in-time strategy to just-in-case, meaning firms keep a little extra in reserve, whether that be raw materials, final product, or anything in between.
  • Some mid-market players have been boxed out of getting raw materials and critical supplies by much larger multinational enterprises. This has forced those mid-sized players to source from a network of smaller suppliers to get what they need.
  • Some companies have supported their smaller partners in the supply chain by investing capital into them. This has de-risked the supply chain by offering stability to weaker links in the chain.

While companies will have at least a few more challenging months ahead, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things may not look so bleak for the San Diego region in the years ahead. E-commerce is a long-term game and one that San Diego is well-positioned for. Cali Baja is already vertically integrated in Manufacturing, and a warehousing boom in Otay Mesa is increasing capacity for e-commerce goods coming via land and sea. The passage of USMCA, uncertainty from tariff trade wars, and recent reshoring/nearshoring trends have made this mega-region an ideal location for companies that want to move operations closer to home but maintain a binational advantage. By continuing to invest in trade infrastructure, such as our ports of entry and global connectivity, San Diego and the Cali Baja Binational Mega-Region can further cement itself as a hub for innovative firms and people.

We’ll continue these conversations with key partners across San Diego and Tijuana on July 29check back here soon for details and registration.

Interested in growing your business internationally?

World Trade Center San Diego, home of the Export Specialty Small Business Development Center (SBDC) works directly with companies – free of charge – to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego. Whether your small company is interested in learning about exporting and international growth, or your small or medium sized company is ready to export and grow internationally, World Trade Center San Diego is here to help.

Export Finance: 3 things your business should know

In June 2021, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) hosted a series of export finance workshops in partnership with California International Trade Center (CITC).

We joined experts from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and Banner Bank to discuss exporting resources, such as the Export Express Loan Program and Export Working Capital Program. We also joined experts from Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), GBC International Bank, and Provident Traders Inc., to discuss open account payment structures, adding value to capital equipment, and EXIM export loan guarantees.

Here are three things we learned at our export finance workshops:

1. Export financing is a key tool in international expansion.

Export financing and export credit insurance can be important tools in your arsenal. With it, you can find more attractive payment terms and mitigate risk. For instance, export credit insurance can allow your business to offer competitive credit terms to foreign buyers for up to 180 to 360 days. Plus, it can protect you against non-payments by foreign buyers due to commercial and political risks.

2. Certain programs might be better tailored to your business needs.

You might have heard about SBA’s Export Working Capital or Export Express Program. But what’s the difference? And which is better for your business?

Export Working Capital provides vital resources for exporters to fulfill new orders, such as loan advances up to $5 million. You can use these funds to purchase finished products, raw materials, and supplies, or cover labor and overhead costs.

Export Express Program allows small businesses to borrow up to $500,000 from a local partnering bank. It is the simplest export loan program offered by the SBA, and offers flexibility and ease of use for borrowers and lenders.

3. A range of partners are here to help you. 

SBA is an independent agency of the federal government dedicated to providing aid, counseling, and assistance to small businesses in order to preserve free competitive enterprise and strengthen the overall economy. Companies receiving SBA services must meet the SBA small business definition.

EXIM Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. When private-sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing, EXIM fills the gap by equipping small businesses with financing tools needed to compete in the global economy.

Finally, you can find a wide variety of lenders willing to assist. Lenders can be traditional banks or Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), such as Lendistry or CDC Small Business Finance.

Interested in learning more about export financing through a lender’s perspective? To learn more about export financing and the application process, tune in to these on-demand webinars:

On Demand – SBA Export Finance Tools for Global Expansion

On Demand EXIM Bank – Products to Increase and Finance Your Export Sales

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Click here to receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

WTC San Diego’s Global Brief: May 2021

Each month, World Trade Center San Diego delivers the latest global news and updates straight to your inbox. In May 2021, here’s what you need to know about San Diego’s global trade, investment, and engagement:

White Labs packages beer to showcase yeast strains

White Labs, a leader in yeast and fermentation education, is now packaging its beer to help showcase the different yeast strains it sells. The beer will be available for sale directly through the company’s San Diego tasting room and online store for shipment to California and North Carolina.
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Dynam.AI, Empyrean Medical Systems partner on cancer treatment

Dynam.AI, which develops machine learning technologies and advanced image data, has partnered with Empyrean Medical Systems to create AI-driven products for cancer detection and treatment. Empyrean will integrate Dynam.AI’s computer vision and machine learning capabilities into its tumor detection and treatment, genomics analytics, simulations, and multi-targeting products.
➝ Read More

Blue Sky Network offers condition-based alerts for real-time updates 

Blue Sky Network‘s cloud-based fleet management solution SkyRouter can now send custom alert messages to fleet managers and operational stakeholders. These alerts make use of geofenced locations to offer world-class monitoring, analytics, and communication systems for land, sea, and airborne assets.
➝ Read More

Other san diego news

Events

GROW YOUR COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO ↓

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies—free of charge—to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego.

  • Export Specialty Center: For small companies interested in learning about exporting and international growth.
  • MetroConnect: For small and medium sized companies ready to export and grow internationally.

Plus: Get WTCSD’s Global Brief, monthly global news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

WTCSD’s Global Brief: April 2021

Each month, World Trade Center San Diego delivers the latest global news and updates straight to your inbox. In April 2021, here’s what you need to know about San Diego’s global trade, investment, and engagement:

WTCSD launches Go Global trade and investment strategy

In partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, WTCSD refreshed its regional strategic plan, focusing on global engagement as an engine for regional recovery and resilience. Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the plan includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms, and more.
➝ Read More 

MetroConnect company TradeSun partners with MarineTraffic

TradeSun recently launched a strategic partnership with MarineTraffic, which develops global ship tracking software. This partnership will significantly reduce exporters’ end-to-end processing time and human error, helping TradeSun customers fight against trade based financial crimes.
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Six things you should know about the state of logistics

At WTCSD’s seventh MetroConnect workshop, participating companies learned about export logistics from experts at Jas Forwarding, the University of San Diego Supply Chain Management Institute, City of San Diego, and California International Trade Center. From this informative session, here are six things you should know about supply chains and export regulations.
➝ Read More

Other san diego news

Events

GROW YOUR COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO ↓

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies—free of charge—to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego.

  • Export Specialty Center: For small companies interested in learning about exporting and international growth.
  • MetroConnect: For small and medium sized companies ready to export and grow internationally.

Plus: Get WTCSD’s Global Brief, monthly global news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

A note from Dr. Clarke

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:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation-based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain, and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. 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

Release: San Diego Global Trade and Investment Strategy serves to drive recovery, resilience

World Trade Center San Diego updates 2015 regional plan amid pandemic

Today, alongside Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and key regional business leaders and in partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) released its “Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative.” This regional strategic plan serves as the update to the inaugural strategy launched in 2015 and focuses on global engagement as an engine for recovery and resilience.

Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the strategic plan also includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, an interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms and more.

THE CASE FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

As the world collectively battles a pandemic and navigates resulting economic shutdowns, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Nations and cities have begun to look inward to focus on domestic needs including healthcare, education, infrastructure, equity and job creation. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected.

On the road to recovery, it is increasingly important for leaders at the metro level to articulate a compelling, data-driven vision of our place within the global economy and collaboratively execute a strategy that keeps us ahead of the curve.

“San Diego is filled with world-class innovation and smart people solving global problems. Now is the time for our big, binational City to show up on the world stage to help us reach our goals faster,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As Mayor, I want to tell that story in a way that opens doors and enables more investment, jobs and opportunities for San Diegans and moves our city forward.”

While San Diego exports $22 billion in goods annually, the region is also a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros. The region’s competitive advantage is in professional, scientific, and technical services, like research and development, cybersecurity, and engineering and software. These industries also capture the highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) via mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment. In fact, San Diego life sciences firms captured nearly three-quarters of the estimated $3 billion in foreign investment injected into the regional economy last year.

“As the “next normal” takes shape, San Diego needs to continue to prepare for where the economy is going by focusing on our most globally competitive industries. However, we need to be intentional about creating quality jobs at every skill level within those industries, and enabling San Diegans with the tools they need to fill those jobs,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD. “This will ensure that our businesses and innovators continue to export life-changing technology, and it will also make all our communities more resilient to future shocks.”

A STRATEGIC PLAN

In order to drive quality job growth through expanding foreign investment and exports, deepen economic ties to strategic markets, and enhance the region’s reputation to drive competitiveness, WTCSD proposes five key strategies for the San Diego region:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation–based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create the most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation for innovation. Deepen public-private partnerships on focused international activity.

“The digital paradigm shift we’ve seen is just one of the many ways the global marketplace—and in turn, our business—has been revolutionized by the pandemic. This is why a regional strategic plan like the one WTCSD has outlined matters: there are real businesses, real people, real jobs who require the resilience that global connection provides,” said Ken Behan, VP of Sales and Marketing, SYSTRAN.

“The Port of San Diego is a vital economic engine for the region with San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront at the heart of it all. While it has been a difficult and uncertain year for us and many of our bayfront businesses, there are so many legacy-making decisions ahead. This strategy presents an opportunity for us to align not only in word, but in action. The impacts could be transformational,” said Commissioner Jennifer LeSar, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The report was produced by WTCSD, with support by the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego and sponsored by Illumina. It was unveiled today at a community event alongside Congressman Scott Peters; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; Dr. Renee Bowen, Director, Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Garry Ridge, Chairman of the Board & CEO, WD-40; Kathleen Lynch, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Illumina; Maritza Diaz, CEO, iTjuana; and Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global.

ABOUT WTCSD
Founded in 1994 by the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, and San Diego International Airport, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

Read the full strategy and report here

MetroConnect: Six things you should know about the state of logistics

In February, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) hosted the seventh and final workshop of its MetroConnect V program. The session brought in experts from around the region to discuss the movement of goods and integration of supply chain operations across a firm. Partners for the session included JAS Forwarding, the University of San Diego Supply Chain Management Institute, the City of San Diego, and California International Trade Center.

Here are six key takeaways from a very informative session:

1. Shipping costs are at an all-time high, while schedule reliability for ocean freight is at an all-time low.

A brutal mix of COVID-19-related factors have placed tremendous stress on a system that, in a normal year, already sees congestion through the holiday season into March. Expect to see abnormally high prices into the summer months and account for the extra time it may take your goods to reach their destination.

Illustration of ocean liner congestion coming into the container ports of LA and Long Beach

Illustration of ocean liner congestion coming into the container ports of LA and Long Beach

2. Less passenger air travel has led to longer lead times for air freight.

Typically, 45 to 50 percent of global air cargo is carried in the belly holds of passenger aircraft. As governments around the world now shift their focus to rapid vaccine distribution, other types of air freight are competing for space on limited aircraft.

3. Export regulation around Hong Kong and China has changed.

From an export regulation standpoint, Hong Kong is no longer treated as a separate entity from China. This is a policy that is expected to remain with the new Biden Administration.

4. The Department of Commerce has imposed new BIS regulations on exports.

There are new BIS regulations for exported goods and services that “could” be used by military end users. Denied Party Screening has never been more important.

5. Supply chains continue to become more digitally and globally integrated.

With Industry 4.0, digitally connecting the various partners within a supply chain will require collaboration, trust, commitment, and risk-sharing, as well as leadership from larger channel partners.

6. Foreign Trade Zones can save you significant time and money.

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) can be a valuable resource for San Diego businesses that import raw materials for domestic production or reexport finished products. You can learn more about San Diego’s FTZ program here.

Next steps for MetroConnect companies

World Trade Center San Diego will pilot a Digital Trade Series with California International Trade Center (CITC) to help SMEs grow exports through online channels. The inaugural installment of this global e-commerce mini program will run through the Spring and serve the current MetroConnect V cohort. Businesses will undergo a needs assessment analyzing their existing digital trade capabilities before receiving a customized action plan for enhancements to their website and online sales processes.

Interested in growing your business internationally?

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies – free of charge – to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego. Whether your small company is interested in learning about exporting and international growth, or your small or medium sized company is ready to export and grow internationally, World Trade Center San Diego is here to help.

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WTC San Diego welcomes new British Consul General Emily Cloke

World Trade Center San Diego extends its warmest welcome to Emily Cloke, the new British Consul General in Los Angeles.

This past December, we were honored to host Ms. Cloke, as well as Antony Phillipson, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, UK Government, at our virtual Global Competitiveness Council to discuss the future of trade with the UK and EU post-Brexit. Council members received a valuable update on the current state of play in Brexit negotiations, a forward look at the future trading relationship between the UK and US, and opportunities for the UK and US moving forward toward 2021.

The UK ranks among San Diego’s top investors in FDI and venture capital, particularly in life science and tech. As such, connectivity with UK is of high priority to WTC San Diego, as well as with our partners at San Diego International Airport. Prior to COVID-19, WTC and the Airport worked on non-stop fight with British Airways to London Heathrow. Additionally, in 2017, WTC led a productive trade mission with two dozen San Diego delegates, including Cubic Transportation Systems, Qualcomm, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Representative Scott Peters.

We look forward to strengthening the San Diego-UK relationship, even while working remotely, and we look forward to supporting Ms. Cloke’s efforts to promote trade and investment between our communities.

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.