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International Trade Filner seeks clarity in international trade issues

World Trade Center Plans Trade Mission

To Monterrey, Mexico

In order to move ahead on border issues at the national level, there has to be a consensus on the issues at the local, state and national levels, according to Rep Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista.

“We have to come to a consensus locally before there’s one in D.C.,” Filner said.

“There is very little understanding (in Washington) of what we need and what our issues are,” Filner said, who addressed members of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at a roundtable discussion on Aug. 17.

Trade promotion authority, which gives the president the authority to participate in trade negotiations with other countries without numerous amendments by Congress to any trade agreements between countries, was discussed at the chamber meeting.

Kenn Morris, co-chairman of the San Diego World Trade Center’s advocacy committee, noted, “Every other executive branch in the world has that freedom to negotiate.”

Filner said former President Bill Clinton failed to get a vote on trade promotion authority during his eight years in office. He added that President George W. Bush will also fail to get votes on that issue during his term in office if bills for trade promotion authority do not change.

“There has to be built into negotiations, environmental protections and labor protections,” he said.

As for revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, Filner said changes to the current version are needed. Trucking is one area where consensus is elusive.

With trucking between Baja California and Los Angeles, the current revisions to NAFTA would allow American companies to use Mexican truckers, who cost $60 per trip opposed to $160 to $180 for their American counterparts.

“If I approve this today, 200 people in my constituency lose their jobs. I would like to vote for something that protects labor and protects the environment,” Filner said, alluding to the fact that Mexican trucks are held to less-stringent vehicle emissions standards than California trucks.

“I don’t know if we’ll do this by the end of September, but maybe next year,” he said.

In order to achieve consensus locally, Filner called on the local business community to speak up on the “more human or social issues” of trade, like environmental regulations and labor rights.

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Mission To Mexico:

The San Diego World Trade Center is planning a trade mission Oct. 16-18 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Monterrey, the capital of the state of Nuevo Leon, is Mexico’s second largest industrial center, after Mexico City. The city makes up about 4 percent of Mexico’s population, but is responsible for more than half of the country’s gross domestic product.

Business prospects in Monterrey include electronics, telecommunications equipment, medical equipment and services, computer and related products, software development, and food processing and packaging.

The San Diego WTC and U.S. Department of Commerce are able to preschedule meetings for local companies with contacts in Monterrey. So far, 11 representatives from nine companies have signed up for the trade mission.

A trade mission to Japan is planned for Nov. 3-10. To register or for more information on both missions, contact Hugh Constant at the World Trade Center at (619) 615-0868, Ext. 103 or e-mail him at hconstant@sdwtc.org.

Trade Show:

Borderland Network Productions LLC of El Paso, Texas, is hosting Borderland Tradeshow 2001 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 28 and 29 at the San Diego Convention Center.

The trade show is for the production sharing industry in Baja and manufacturers in Southern California and Arizona. Contact Borderland Network Productions at (915) 771-7061 for more information or visit the company’s Web site at (www.borderland. tradeshow.net).

Send international trade news to Mandy Jackson via fax at (858) 571-3628 or via e-mail at mjackson@sdbj.com. Jackson can be reached at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 114.

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