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San Diego’s International Trade Rebounds

Aired 4/30/13 on KPBS News.

International trade has bounced back to top pre-recession highs in San Diego.

— Economists see the rebound in San Diego's international trade as another sign of an improving local economy.

CBP Photography

Cars line up at the San Ysidro border crossing in this undated photo.

San Diego trade that crossed international borders was valued at $56.5 billion in 2012. A new National University System Institute for Policy Research report found that's up 7.2 percent from the year before.

The amount of cross border trade is now higher than it was before the Great Recession. Most of that trade involves San Diego's closest neighbor.

"The big news for San Diego is always that Mexico is such a big part of our international trade, both in imports and exports," said Kelly Cunningham, NUSIPR economist.

86 percent of international trade is with Mexico.

Much of it involves products designed here, said Cunningham. Those products are sent to Mexico for assembly, and then returned to the U.S. to be sold. Companies do that to be cost competitive with Asian manufacturers.

Cunningham said he expects San Diego's international trade to continue growing.

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