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Hundreds Of Items To Enter Mexico Border Areas Duty-Free

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Aired 1/24/12

Border Duty-Free Zones

— Clothing, school supplies and golf clubs are a few of the items that will now enter select areas along Mexico’s border with the U.S. duty-free. Last Friday, on a visit to Tijuana, Mexican president Felipe Calderón signed a decree reducing or eliminating import duties on 200 products.

The measure affects products sold along the entire Baja California peninsula, and the northwestern portion of the Mexican state of Sonora, which borders Arizona.

Local business leaders have long lobbied for the measure. They hope to keep Mexican consumers spending their pesos in Mexico rather than crossing to shop at U.S. malls.

“Baja California needs the income and the employment, and yet we’re giving it to the communities of Southern California (and Arizona)," said Noé Arón Fuentes, head of the economics department at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana.

Golf equipment is one of 200 items that will now enter areas in the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora duty-free.
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Above: Golf equipment is one of 200 items that will now enter areas in the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora duty-free.

According to a recent study, Tijuana has the fifth largest population of people living in poverty anywhere in Mexico.

The move could mean a short-term loss of revenue for some retailers on the U.S. side of the border.

“But in the long-run, it’s a good thing because it puts more money into the hands of consumers,” said Christina Luhn from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Luhn directs an initiative to promote the Southern California, Northern Mexico border area as an integrated "mega-region."

The Baja duty-free zone is the first step in a plan to turn the peninsula into a Strategic Economic Zone, like those which have helped turn small Chinese villages into prosperous industrial centers.

The next goal for the two states on the Baja California peninsula is to attract more businesses involved in technological innovation.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 24, 2012 at 1:59 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

In this area, Tijuana consumers are already coming to shop--much to the detriment of their own hometown economy and have for years. So what is this? Another incentive?

In the US they can already find many of the same products here, less expensive, of better quality, and a refund policy to boot. They are willing to wait a long time in line to come and spend their hard-earned money.

Mexican retail owners, or at least in Baja, simply don't know how to sell. Sales are rare; no discounts for damaged or expiring products, the quality of many products are inferior to those in the US, stores close early and don't even have extended holiday hours, and customer service is often lacking due in part to low wages. This is how they shoot themselves in the foot and don't help their own economy

I'll give you one distinct example, lunch buffet at Sanborns during regular hours is $15 or $16 U.S. depending on the exchange rate. A lunch buffet in San Diego County is $9 - $11, depending on the priciness of the restaurant. So factor in the average wage and you see what I mean.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 24, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Missionunaccomplished,

How could you possibly complain about this? Mexican retailers and consumers will benefit from a price reduction of quality goods, rather than having to cross the border. It helps the poorest right where they need it: AT HOME.

Or are you just opposed to anything that decreases border crossing? I know you're opposed to borders, but come on, have a heart.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 25, 2012 at 9:15 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Retail business people may come and buy cheaper wholesale in the US, but then raise the prices at the retail level when they go back and sell in Baja. They need to pick up their economy and money needs to circulate for a healthy economy. As I overheard one man on the street near the border complain, that sellers in Tijuana think in the short-run and not in the long-run.

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