San Diego Mayor to Defend NAFTA

Created: 25 January, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022

By Alexandra Mendoza

This week, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer traveled to Washington D.C., where he will be touting the successes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now in the next-to-last round of negotiations.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the trilateral agreement signed with Canada and Mexico 24 years ago unless the U.S. gets “a better deal.”

However, elected officials from the Calibaja binational region want their position heard before any final decision is reached.

“This is our opportunity to tell our San Diego-Tijuana and northern (Baja California) success story,” said Faulconer before boarding a plane for the U.S. capital. “Free trade works; it is a competitive advantage for us. In the San Diego region alone, we have 110,000 jobs that depend on NAFTA.”

According to a report by the Peterson Institute, close to half a million California jobs depend on cross-border trade, and the number surpasses 5 million jobs for the U.S. as a whole.

As a result, the Mayor feels that it is of critical importance for legislators who are not familiar with border dynamics to hear the concerns of those cities whose economies depend on border trade.

“This is not a party issue. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about doing the right thing,” added Faulconer. “When we tell our history of success, of economic activity, it is important for members of Congress who do not live near the border to hear it from me, to hear it from the Mayor of Tijuana, how are partnership works.”

The Mayor’s agenda included a meeting with Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez, as well as a forum focused on discussing the trade agreement, where he was joined by Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum.

Faulconer attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual winter meeting, where they also discussed issues such as homelessness in San Diego, job creation, and immigration reform.

On the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, whom the Mayor has publicly supported on several occasions, he stated that it was time for Congress to find a solution to restore their protections. “We have seen what has happened in the past few days, and I feel more optimistic that we will find a solution. But it needs to be decided now, it has been too long already.”