Global Identity

WTCSD is focused on amplifying San Diego’s brand abroad.

Through trade missions and independent economic research, WTCSD works to amplify San Diego’s brand and strengthen connections with its most important markets.

Trade Missions

World Trade Center San Diego organizes cross-sectoral trade missions with senior-level executives to strengthen San Diego’s connections with key markets that create growth opportunities for our region and companies. Learn more about our recent trade missions below.

With the mounting global uncertainty caused by Brexit and Lufthansa’s new non-stop service from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany was increasingly becoming a key market for San Diego. In October 2019, World Trade Center led a delegation of 20+ senior-level executives to Frankfurt and Munich to explore connectivity in transportation, smart cities, and life sciences. Key meetings included visits to the European Central Bank, Siemens, IBM Watson’s Lab, as well as key meetings and receptions with key political contacts in each market. The agenda included:

  • Takeda California and Evotec announced a new partnership between Takeda & German-based Evotec. The partnership will be lead through Takeda’s San Diego office and will increase the companies ability to help their clients with drug discovery and development.
  • Delegates learned about BMW’s partnership with Qualcomm, which leverages their 5G technology to create a cellular vehicle-to-vehicle communication network.
  • Delegates toured the House of Logistics and Mobility and expored Frankfurt’s and the broader RMV approach to mobility, which has been aided by Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems.


Nearly 12,000 San Diegans are directly employed by Japan-based companies including Sony, Takeda, and more. Additionally, there was more than $3.4 billion in economic activity between San Diego and Japan from 2016 -2018. During the three day trade mission – led by Rep. Peters and WTCSD – San Diego looked to capitalize on these connections. The 30+ person delegation featured key startups and anchor companies. The agenda included:

  • A visit to Takeda’s Shonan Health Innovation Park, one of the first collaborative academic and private sector research centers in Japan.
  • A reception where San Diego-based announced an expansion into Tokyo
  • A ‘trends in venture capital forum’ with Qualcomm, Yahoo! Japan and others at Plug and Play, the world’s largest technology accelerator.

The U.K. is one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. U.K.-based companies directly support more than 10,000 local jobs and have poured more than $3.9 billion in greenfield investment (2003-2015) into San Diego’s economy. The U.K. is also one of the top 10 largest export markets for San Diego-produced goods and services.

Over the course of the three-day trade mission, WTCSD made two significant announcements, representing both the smart cities and life sciences: San Diego-based Forge Therapeutics announced the launch of BLACKSMITH, a new platform being developed in partnership with Evotec AG’s U.K. team. With more than 23,000 people dying in the U.S. annually due to resistance to anti-biotic superbugs, Forge’s new platform will aid in bringing lifesaving drugs to the market. The partnership will also enable Forge to create additional jobs in San Diego. In March 2018, Forge announced it was doubling its footprint in San Diego because of the deal.

In June 2017, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer became one of the first City mayors to travel internationally as official city business. Economically speaking, Vancouver is seen as one of the greenest cities in the world. With the Mayor’s climate action plan and the ongoing development of our cleantech industry, San Diego is fast being recognized as another one of North America’s greenest cities.

Some of the highlights from the trip include:

  • San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, in partnership with TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, announced there were more than 2 million compass cards in circulation
  • Phoenix Molecular Design, a life sciences company based in Vancouver, is actively expanding its business to San Diego and plans to grow to 15 employees within two years
    UC San Diego and University of British Columbia (UBC) formulized the HIBAR initiative, designed to connect their faculty to their communities to tackle problems around sustainability and climate change
  • San Diego State University became the only California university accepted into the International Sustainability Campus Network, joining UBC and other top tier universities around the globe
    SDG&E and BC Hydro, British Columbia’s energy utility, participated in a clean energy forum

Research & Thought Leadership

Through EDC’s research team and partnerships with local universities, World Trade Center San Diego releases research that articulates San Diego’s standing in the global economy and key issues important to international trade.

Recent research includes:

Trade and Competitiveness in North America: A Focus on the Cali Baja Mega-Region


Interested in working together?

Lucas Coleman
Lucas Coleman

Sr. Manager, WTC; Director, Export Specialty SBDC