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San Diego's International Trade Value Hits Record, Report Shows

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Imports to and exports from Mexico lifted the value of international trade in the San Diego region to a new record in 2012, but exchanges with the rest of the world continue to lag, according to a report released today by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

The value of international trade to and from San Diego last year totaled $56.5 billion, according to the report. The data showed $36.6 billion in imports and $19.9 billion of exports, with 86 percent coming from or going to Mexico, according to the report.

The mark topped pre-recession highs of $54 billion in 2007 and 2008.


The report said the subsequent economic dip dropped the import/export value to $44.4 billion in 2009. Trade with Mexico allowed a recovery to $48.6 billion in 2010 and 52.7 billion in 2011.

"One reason for these trade patterns is the development of 'maquiladora' operations in Baja,'' the report states. "In many cases products designed and produced in the U.S. are exported to Mexico for assembly, and returned as imports to San Diego. In total Mexico accounts for 97 percent of all San Diego exports from and 82 percent of all imports.''

Tijuana is the North American leader in the manufacture of medical devices and most flat screen television sold in the U.S. are produced in maquiladora plants, according to the report.

According to the NUSIPR, trade with the rest of the world in 2012 amounted to $7.8 billion, below the $9.9 billion of 2007.

The area's biggest trading partners other than Mexico are Japan, at $2.4 billion, and Germany, at $2.2 billion. Both countries deliver vehicles to the U.S. through the National City Marine Terminal.


China was fourth, at $908.2 million, the NUSIPR said.

The study found that computer and electronic parts made up the largest portion of import value, 36.3 percent, and export value, 19.1 percent.

In 1992, the first year included in the report, the value of international trade in San Diego was $10.1 billion.

The NUSIPR used figures supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division.