Luis M. Hernandez (left) was among the International Tribute honorees, where U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau spoke. Photos via

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday honored several recipients for actions deemed instrumental to binational collaboration between the San Diego region and Baja California — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Tribute awards are presented yearly to those making an effort toward cross-border cooperation.

The International Business of the Year award went to Toyota. The automaker’s “support of free trade across North America was critical in the efforts to win approval and ratify the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement,” according to the chamber.

The Cross-Border Leader of the Year recipient was Luis M. Hernandez, president of INDEX Zona Costa, who was “instrumental in assisting with the reopening of businesses” that were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cross-Border Hero award went to Cross Border Xpress for its “Warm Hearts, Warm Meals” campaign which raised more than $100,000 to benefit organizations helping to address the food insecurity many families in the border region are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

“As a binational megaregion, San Diego and Baja California continually set an example for what is possible when all are committed to collaboration and the understanding that our success and viability is interconnected,” said Jerry Sanders, the chamber’s president and CEO.

“That collaboration was especially critical this year as our region faced numerous challenges as a result of the pandemic and we are proud to celebrate the people, success stories, and qualities that make this one of the most dynamic regions in the world.”

The program featured remarks from U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau on the significant role the Cali-Baja region plays in bilateral trade and commerce, and the future of the U.S. Mexico relationship.

— City News Service

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