The Business of the Border — Why America’s Economy Depends on San Diego


Thanks in large part to a border economy that defies stereotypes and a world-class scientific community, a city famous for its surf is riding a different kind of wave.

At the top of a nearly completed highway on-ramp near the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, a pair of flags, U.S. and Mexican, snapped in the mid-April wind. A podium stood next to a white-peaked tent enclosing rows of folding chairs. To the north, east and west was the United States—San Diego and Chula Vista. To the south, Mexico—Tijuana and Tecate, once notorious as destinations for those in search of vice but now rapidly growing industrial centers. Bulldozers chugged back and forth on the plain below. In every direction, the landscape bustled with commerce: warehouses, roads, truck stops and factories. Toyota makes pickup trucks here; Solar Turbines, a subsidiary of Caterpillar, makes gas turbines; and 3D Robotics, the country’s largest commercial drone manufacturer, makes drones.

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