Mexport is an annual trade show in San Diego — a great, one-day snapshot of Cali Baja’s economy, a term that describes the greater economic zone between Baja California in Mexico and San Diego and Imperial Counties in California. Services in global transportation, manufacturing and assembly reflect the impetus of the local economy and the interlaced nature of Cali Baja.
My colleagues at the Imperial Valley Economic Development Council say they continue to greet 3 to 4 trade delegations from Asia and the Middle East who come seeking resources in agriculture – Imperial County exports grain to both regions – and in emerging alternative energy such as biomass algae and wind. (In April, when I was in El Centro at the annual regional global trade summit, I heard firsthand about damages from the Easter Sunday earthquake and aftershocks in Mexicali and Calexico, which are much worse than we’d feared: flooding from busted irrigation lines has interrupted growth and harvesting cycles, and many private and public structures remain uninhabitable.)
Here’s a group of services providers that you probably would not meet if you were to attend a similar event along the Washington-British Columbia or Michigan-Ontario borders: specialists in retro-fitting vehicles with armor and bullet-proof glass, and evasive driving instruction. Three fast-growing companies, owned and operated by guys who you’d want on your side in a rumble, displayed car doors riddled with bullet holes and heavy-duty vehicles tricked out in under-armor and very thick, tinted glass. Business is booming along the volatile US-Mexico border and in the Middle East, as companies go to great lengths to insure and protect Key Men and families.
One of Mexport’s sponsors, Corrugados/Orange County Container, is a bi-national provider of packaging goods and services to Cali Baja’s manufacturers. Their booth was done up in World Cup Fever theme, replete with easy chairs and footrests built from corrugate and designed in the shape of soccer balls. Between these chairs and the bullet-riddled door panels, I knew I was at a show that meant business!