San Diego Mayor Meets With President Trump At White House
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / June 19, 2019
According to the White House, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer talked trade, border sewage and homelessness with President Trump.
Speaker 1: 00:00 While news headlines Focus on the president's threats to impose tariffs or conduct mass deportations. San Diego officials are focusing on improving trade relations with Mexico. San Diego Americ. Kevin Faulkner met with President Trump in the oval office on Tuesday and they talked about trade with Mexico among other things. Paolo Avila, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is also in Washington DC this week with the mayor talking about trade. She's at a conference of the board of Trade Alliance. Paolo Avila joins us now. Thanks for being with us.
Speaker 2: 00:32 Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: 00:33 So San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulkner met with the presidents and they talked about the u s MCA deal, the US Mexico Canada agreement to replace Nafta. They did not talk about immigration apparently. What do you think the meeting accomplished?
Speaker 2: 00:49 Well, to hear directly from the perspective of a mayor of of the eighth largest city, a city that has a Republican mayor and um, to hear directly about the importance of the US Mexico relationship and how much we rely on that relationship for our own local economy and, and strength. I think that was important. And hearing that I'm very loud and clear.
Speaker 1: 01:16 So I understand that you're expecting some big news about the u s MCA today.
Speaker 2: 01:21 Yes. We just met with the ambassador of Mexico to the u s Martha Barcelona and uh, she was reiterating the news that's expected. It's come out of Mexico City, uh, today, uh, where the Mexican Senate would be ratifying the trade agreement. Um, previously it was expected. The ratification might even be at by unanimous. So now it appears there might be a, a couple of dissenting votes, but it is still widely expected to pass. Uh, the Mexican Senate is the only body that is required to ratify the agreement. Unlike here in the u s it will require ratification from both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. So this is great news and very timely. It helps us as we advocate here in Washington for the ratification by our own congress.
Speaker 1: 02:11 Who are you meeting with in Washington DC today? And, and what do you hope you can accomplish that will benefit San Diego?
Speaker 2: 02:18 We met this morning with, uh, a series of, uh, of senators from across the country, from Arizona, Texas and Nebraska and have an, are now meeting with members of the House of Representatives. Uh, we do a series of meeting with the Republican members and then this afternoon we're meeting with a Democrat members. We're talking about USM, ca the trade agreement, and also hearing that from them where they stand on the agreement, we're asking for a yes or no, a position on the agreement. And so the response has been great, very positive. Um, they are reasonably optimistic about its ratification and have mentioned several times to building up the momentum, uh, and which could not have happened if the steel and aluminum tariffs were still in place or if the tariffs on Mexican imports had been implemented.
Speaker 1: 03:20 Are the negotiations effected by the threat still hanging over Mexico that the president could impose tariffs if immigration isn't slowed enough by Mexico's new initiatives?
Speaker 2: 03:31 Absolutely. If, um, you know, as, as those talks continue and like, you know, the ratification hearing begin if the tariffs were to be imposed on Mexico or, um, you know, that research, I see that as very problematic when we've heard that loud and clear. We haven't met with a single member of Congress who supports the terrorists. In fact, they'd been very vocally opposed. And, and, and in talking about, um, order management and, um, and, and immigration, the focus really is on making, you know, preventing from trade from being interrupted or our integrated supply chain. We have many hurdles that we have currently including, uh, more than, you know, around 300 CVP officers that have been lost from the southern border to help, uh, the, uh, border patrol at the tension centers. And this is increased border wait times. There are, um, you know, border infrastructure needs. There's tremendous work that still needs to be done. The USM ca helps us move forward among all of these other challenges.
Speaker 1: 04:44 What's a stake specifically for San Diego in these negotiations to agree on a new USM? Sia, you know, which specific industries stand to benefit or lose depending on how this shakes out.
Speaker 2: 04:55 It's really a industries across the board. Among the, the most important ones in our region are pharmaceutical or the largest medical device manufacturing cluster in the world. When you put us together as a bite national region, we have computer equipment, automobile parts, uh, electrical equipment, audio, visual, um, those components just to name a few. But aside from that, we, we must also consider a agriculture and produce, which we don't talk about in San Diego very much, but it is a very important to our region. Uh, the, the produce that we import import from Mexico, that includes that flowers, we import flowers and that's tremendously important to our region in San Diego. And aside from that are all the service related jobs that are supported by trade, the marketing, the finance, the legal, the consulting, the logistics and customs processing. There are millions of jobs that are supported cost, the country service jobs that are tied to trade and they have been created and grown because of the growing, uh, trade relationship. Those are all at risk.
Speaker 1: 06:09 No, this is an annual meeting of the board of Trade Alliance. How would you say it's different from previous meetings you've attended? What was the tone this year?
Speaker 2: 06:18 Uh, there's a lot of concern because there are so many different issues that we are battling in past years. You know, we've, we've continued talking about the lack of border infrastructure and increasing borders delays. That's something that we have faced for a very long time. Um, lack of CVP staffing that, uh, we have been requesting, um, you know, bringing more staffing up. But right now we're talking about tariffs were talking about the trade agreement, which, you know, in past years we, Nafta was not at risk and it adds to the uncertainties that the business community functions under which, and, and does create increased production costs. The upside though that I'll mention is, um, with this, uh, these meetings that we're having, we're meeting with, uh, members from across the country leadership. Uh, from here we head over to Speaker Pelosi's office to meet with her staff. Um, in some cases I'll say, we hadn't secured meetings like these with these members. Now there is greater understanding and concern from the members themselves and their interest in meeting with our organization.
Speaker 1: 07:28 I've been speaking with powder Avila, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Thanks for the update.
Speaker 2: 07:33 You're welcome. Thank you so much.