San Diego leaders work to strengthen ties with Mexico - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego leaders work to strengthen ties with Mexico

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A delegation of local political and business leaders is in Mexico City this week for an annual trip to strengthen bi-national ties.

This three-day visit comes amid tensions and uncertainty in the relationship between the United States and Mexico as the Trump administration cracks down on immigration.   

"The climate's not great, but we're always welcomed with open arms because we have a close relationship," said San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and C.E.O. Jerry Sanders. "On the wall, it's more inflammatory than anything else, because we've had a wall in San Diego for some time and goods, people and services flow very smoothly." 

Three infrastructure projects are a top priority for the coalition; one is a new port of entry east of Otay, another is a cross-border freight railroad and a third a new southbound pedestrian crossing into Mexico. Other items on the agenda include: trade, tourism and tech jobs.

"We come here with some very specific projects, but with an overall intent to deliver a positive message from our region that relays our understanding of Mexico as a strategic partner in so many areas," said the Chamber's VP of International Business Affairs Paula Avila.  

The group will meet with several high-level Mexican officials including the environmental secretary. 

This comes a month after a Tijuana sewage plant caused what Imperial Beach's mayor called the county's largest raw sewage discharge. 

Beaches were closed for weeks and a bi-national investigation is underway.  

IB Mayor Serg Dedina is one of three mayors making the trek. 

"I think they've realized the infrastructure is aging down there and they're putting funding toward fixing that right away," said Sanders. 

The delegation is led by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and includes the mayors of San Diego, Imperial Beach and Tijuana.
     
Also on the roster are business leaders, customs brokers, logistics experts, real estate developers and others seeking to maintain strong cross-border ties.

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