The Cali Baja Venture

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Recently (June 10, 2014) David Brat (Virginia’s 7th congressional district) defeated Eric Cantor, former House Majority Lead. While celebrating his victory, Brat pointed out the primary factor fueling his success, was his not so lenient regards towards immigration. Brat has been quoted as having a no amnesty ideology, and will create major implications for Obama’s Immigration over-haul aspirations. While immigration continues to play a deleterious role in American political rectitude, a more optimistic decorum is becoming a reality after 6 years of global legislation. The Cali Baja Mega Region Initiative is an unrivaled challenge, making the current political ills of immigration seem antediluvian.

The Cali Baja Mega Region started in 2008. It was in 2008 that the Economic Development Administration (EDA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, awarded San Diego Regional EDC and the Imperial Valley EDC a grant worth $225,000 to develop a bi-national strategy. As a result of that grant, a successful collaboration of San Diego County, Imperial County and the Mexican municipality of Baja California, came into existence. They termed their joint venture The Cali Baja Bi-National Mega Region Initiative. It is divided into 6 regional development agencies, which collectively is the root of the organization. The 6 development agencies are:

1.) San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
2.) Imperial County Economic Development Corp.
3.) Tijuana Economic Development Corp.
4.) Ensenada Economic Development Corp.
5.) Industrial Development Commission of Mexicali
6.) Economic Promotion Commission of Tecate

In addition, the Cali Baja bi-national strategy included the opportunity for stakeholder investors and founding sponsors, which include AT&T, Bank of America, San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG), San Diego State University, EW Corporation, Hargreaves and Savitch, Wal-Mart Foundation, Kyocera, Procopio and others.

The new Cali Baja region is 29,000 square miles, about the size of Maine. The infrastructure includes 6 border crossings, 5 interstate freeways, 5 international airports 2 maritime ports with linked rail. These structural advantages are minute in comparison to the business and socio-political opportunities Cali Baja will create. Cali Baja is presumed to be the metropolis of the future when it comes to technology. Each of the 6 geographic entities specializing in innovative commerce. It’s often compared to Hong Kong positive non-interventionism; whereby laissez-faire capitalism (Rikkie, 2008) seems to be the decorum of the quasi authority. However unlike Hong Kong, Cali Baja is not and shall not be restricted by exclusive internal and external affairs of any one particular government. Instead free enterprise is the mode of operation. In June 2011 the six regional economic development agencies signed their “Rule of Engagement” which establishes the base rules of their collective effort as, Cali Baja.

The economic advantage of Cali Baja in part is geographic location. But the primary advantage is the industry that this geographic location provides collectively. The region success will be based on solar manufacturing, Biofuel development and manufacturing, work force development, agricultural development. Christina Luhn, director of the Cali Baja Mega Region Initiative, proudly stated, “I confess when I started this project, I believed what I read in the paper—that there wasn’t any manufacturing left in America, that it had all gone overseas. Now we know how wrong that is,” says Luhn. “Globalization has changed the nature of manufacturing and technology…We have an advantage in California, we already have companies, we already have people out there doing a bunch of exciting things-a lot of time they’re just two hours away.”
When considering the collective success to be reaped from the Cali Baja Mega Region, an in depended close look at each region provides ample veracity to Luhn’s statements.

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
San Diego is a leading hi-tech hub in the United States. By fusing life science, communication, environmental tech and software development, San Diego has become a cutting-edge culture. Its impact on technology focuses on commercialization and research of advance manufacturing within diverse landscapes. The larger portion of this commercialization is in the aerospace/defense, wireless communication systems, digital transmission, reception systems, medical devices and shipbuilding. Another dynamic of San Diego EDC is biotech research done at the University of California San Diego, which has spun 200 biotech corporation, with an estimated $9.2 billion annual revenue generated (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 2011). Some of the companies that will spring from the San Diego EDC into Cali Baja are: Kyocera, Solar Turbines and UTC.

Imperial County Economic Development Corp
The Imperial Valley is advantageously located near the southern border of San Diego, Arizona and Mexicali’s (the capital of Baja California). The area embodies ideal weather for abundant sunshine, making it a perfect location for solar, wind, and algae biofuel development. The area is also soil rich and agribusiness is strengthen by geographical location to the United States and Mexico. Some of the renewable energy companies that occupy this location are Synthetic Genomics, Pattern Energy, Tenaska and Cal Energy.

Tijuana Economic Development Corp.
Tijuana is a manufacturing headquarter. ‘It represents 47% of jobs generated by the private sector in the city.’ (Tijuana EDC, 2012) With over 6 million resident, 2 deep sea ports and an international airports (General Abelardo L. Rodriguez International Airport) Tijuana provides a comprehensive access and exceptional workforce. There are over 568 manufacturing plants in the Tijuana, which employee over 165,000 workers. Some of the facilities that are subsidiaries of U.S. corporations, South East Asia and European are; Foxconn, Samsung, Sanyo, Phillips, Ossur, Siiken and Gambro.

Ensenada Economic Development Corp.
Ensenada is located 60 miles south of the United States border. It has the highest concentration of foreign industrial manufacturing, and is also focused in Sea Port and mining industries. The advantage point of Ensenada is found in it’s low operation cost, proximity to the United States and Asia, wide selection of local suppliers, technical work force and a population educational profile in engineering and hi-tech sciences. From aerospace engineering to medical devices and textile industries, Ensenada offers ‘the best quality of life in Mexico’s North Western region.”(Ensenada EDC, 2012) Some of the key manufactures in the Ensenada region are 3M, Hutchinson Aerospace, ICU Medical, Ingersol Rand (Schlage), Consolidated Precision Products and Softtek.

Mexicali Commission Development
Mexicali is the state capital of Baja California. The primary benefit is its growing work population within the aerospace, renewable energies, automotive and electric industries. Some of the major international companies that operate in Mexicali are Kellogg’s, DeACERO, Intutitve Surgical and Goodrich Aerospace.

Tecate Commission Economic Promotion
Located east of Tijuana, Tecate is a manufacturing hub, not only for its global beer but also for its leading status in electronics, medical devices, ceramic and plastic industries. Global corporations such as Schlage Lock (Ingersol Rand) and Rockwell operate in Tecate. Tecate host more than 119 manufacturing facilities with Highway 2 offering easy transportation and freight to Otay Mesa Port.

There is an obvious competitive edge for businesses that will operate out of the Cali Baja Mega Region. Most recently German Bosch has reaffirmed its plan to invest 90 million dollars over the next for years (Bosch, 2014). Business success in Mexico can be contributed to the practice of Maquiladoras. Maquiladoras are manufacturing plants, with the parent company administrating from foreign destination like the United States of Germany. Maquiladoras allow business investors to capitalize on the economical labor force and raw materials Mexico has to offer. With business policy like NAFTA and Maquiladoras, Cali Baja when complete (projected 2020), will be the leading high-technology hub in the world. It also will host the largest bi-national workforce providing ample labor for the aerospace, automotive, bio-fuel, commercial electronics and agricultural industries. It is estimated that the demographic statistics will be:

Population = 6.6 million
GDP = $202.4 Billion (USD)
Square Miles = 28, 656
Labor Force = 3.1 Million
Employment = 2.8 Million

In regards to Cali Baja Mega Region, the NPR Marketplace stated, “While Congress debates the need for tighter border security, Tijuana and San Diego want to get beyond the border and work together as a combined economic powerhouse.” (Tyler, 2013) This seems like a sensible assessment, considering one of the 2024 Olympics proposed cities is the Cali-Baja Mega Region. The following YouTube video details some highlights of the Cali Baja Mega Region.

Baker, Peter. (2014). Obama’s Odds With Congress: Bad to Worst. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Bosch, Robert. (2014). Bosch Reaffirms It’s Investment Plans With Mexico. Industrial Development of Mexicali. Retrieved from

Cali Baja Bi-National Mega Region. (2011). Cali Baja. Retrieved from

California Forward. (2014). California –Mexico Partnership Boosts Cross Boundary Economy. Youtube. Retrieved from

CPI-Co Production International. (2014). Mexicali, Baja California and Mexico Manufacturing. Retrieved from

Ensenada EDC. (2011). Why Ensenada: Textile Industry and Economic Activities. Retrieved from

Ewers, Justin. (2013). Regional Innovations-San Diego: How To Bridge A Mega-Region’s Urban and Rural Divide. CAE Economy. Retrieved from HTTP://WWW.CAECONOMY.ORG/REPORTING/ENTRY/REGIONAL-INNOVATIONS-SAN-DIEGO-HOW-TO-BRIDGE-A-MEGA-REGIONS-URBAN-AND-RURAL

Tijuana EDC. (2012). Tijuana’s Industrial Profile. Retrieved from

Tyler, Jeff. (2013). Tijuana and San Diego Try To Move Past The Border. NRP Market Place World News. Retrieved from


One thought on “The Cali Baja Venture

  1. paulgoree Post author

    Reblogged this on Paulgoree's Weblog and commented:

    I first went to the Baja in 1987 visiting a friends family in Mexicali and then enjoy San Felip. It was wonderful then, I can’t wait to see all this new development and progression.


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