Business leaders in the commerce sector of Tijuana, Baja California and San Ysidro, California were optimistic in the economic reactivation from that region, after the United States decided to reopen its borders to non-essential travel.
Jorge Macías Jimenez, President of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism (Canaco-Servytur) of Tijuana, said that merchants in that region of the country hope that the reopening will affect their sales a little, because they will already be able to buy from the other side of the border line buyers who during the last 19 months could not cross.
However, he stressed that it is not a worrying issue, in addition to that they are used to competing with their California counterparts.
He stressed that the border counties of California and the municipalities of Baja California attached to the border make up a well amalgamated community and the closure of commercial establishments located north of the international line, affected their businesses on this side, because the owners or employees of those businesses cross to Tijuana to consume.
What has become clear, he continued, is that for the region to prosper, both economies have to be strong. What affects one, impacts the other.
Macías Jiménez explained that the closure of the border was an opportunity for the commercial establishments of Tijuana, which allowed the economy of the city as a whole to recover faster.
Somehow, we had captive buyers, which created a situation in which you had to take advantage of the moment, not take advantage of the moment, and that’s how it was done. The objective was that buyers who were used to crossing the border to consume would realize that here they found the products and the service they were looking for, he added.
He said that Mexican merchants hope their customers have realized that they offer competitive products and prices.
In that sense, he commented that during these pandemic months, many people ordered their products to those who could cross in exchange for a fee.
The business leader indicated that expect a good end of the year season So what The good end, which began this Wednesday, marks the beginning of a rebound in sales.
On the other hand, he reported that businessmen in the Tijuana trade sector are already very close to reaching the business levels they had before the pandemic.
However, he mentioned that at the moment what worries them are the restrictions set by the epidemiological traffic light, in orange, which has been in that status for several weeks, due to a rebound in coronavirus infections.
In the businessman’s opinion, the success of the economic reactivation on both sides of the border depends on the fact that there is no other serious wave of contagion from the pandemic, which will force lower capacity or the closure of businesses.
We just need customers to be able to cross the border: Jason Wells
For his part, the executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, California, Jason Wells, said that although the income that was lost due to the closure of the border will not be recovered, the businesses that survived could stabilize next January.
In a telephone interview, he recalled that, only in the San Ysidro area, of the around 800 businesses that existed before the pandemic, 276 closed permanently.
He mentioned that they have well-founded reasons that, with a good season at the end of the year, their businesses will be able to stabilize, since, until 2019, around 65% of the establishments in that border region obtained their net profits between November 20 and January 6th.
The business representative explained that the recovery in sales is expected to be gradual, because many of the Mexicans who can now cross decided to wait.
In his opinion, for the reopening of the border to non-essential travel to be considered successful for commercial establishments south of the southern border of the United States, it is necessary that the crossing through the immigration checkpoints be rapid.
He stressed that entrepreneurs in the US trade sector do not ask for anything more than to be allowed to work and pass on to their clients. “Nothing is taken care of. Simply that the government gets out of the way ”.
“We are a binational community. We are used to having tacos for breakfast in Tijuana, going shopping at noon in San Ysidro and having dinner in Rosarito. We have in our DNA the habit of crossing for different things and reasons to both sides of the border. It does not deal with incentives, just that the government lets us get to both sides of the line ”.
He indicated that 97% of the people who cross the border do so at least three times a week and migration agents can easily identify them, so they should implement some mechanism so that these people can pass faster.
In turn, the director of the Department of Economic Studies of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Eduardo Mendoza Cota, said that the economic integration of the border in Tijuana has had an effect of shoveling the effects of the recession generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 19 in total employment, through that generated by the manufacturing sector.
This indicates that the labor market in Baja California has a very important relationship with the process of integration of the state to the economic activity of California and the United States in General, he explained.
He explained that some border states have been able to withstand the onslaught of the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, notably Baja California.
He indicated that, as well as on a national scale there has been an uneven recovery, in Baja California, Tijuana and Mexicali, they were the ones that recovered the fastest, particularly in manufacturing and Ensenada in terms of agricultural employment.
The greatest losses are in the sectors that have to do with the domestic market such as construction and services, he added.