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Story: Region's Exports Hit Record Level in 2013

TRADE: Goods Go Mostly To Mexico's Maquiladoras


Sunday, September 14, 2014

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Kelly Cunningham, an economist with National University System Institute for Policy Research, noted that the great bulk of the exports are goods moved to Tijuana plants called maquiladoras where they are assembled into finished products, and then moved back to San Diego.

"The values of the goods are counted as both exports and imports," Cunningham said. "We're using Mexico as a place to assemble products and using cheaper Mexican labor."

In a study Cunningham did last year based on 2012 data, he found that Mexico accounted for 97 percent of all of San Diego's exports, and 82 percent of the region's total imports.


Cunningham said in recent years, elected officials and policymakers have recognized the critical impact that helping companies expand their exports has on the local company.

"Exports are a real increase in dollars coming into the region," he said. When companies generate sales within a region, those dollars are essentially being recirculated. By making export sales, new dollars are created locally, he noted.

"It has a much bigger multiplier effect on the economy," Cunningham said.