A car carrier leaves the Port of San Diego with vehicles built in Baja California. Photo by Chris Jennewein

By Matt Belcher

San Diego is one the largest cities in the United States and could be among the top five regions in the world for global investment. Reaching that status would dramatically improve the landscape for commerce and business in our region.

According to a research study by the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase, the opportunities are significant. As of 2014, the greater San Diego region ranked 61st in export intensity — the percent of GDP that gets exported abroad. The same report noted that while foreign direct investment increased more than five-fold between 1991 and 2011 to over $25 trillion in the United States, San Diego ranked only 49th among the 100 largest metros in the share of employees in foreign-owned firms.

There’s room to grow and grow big. Southern California is the rising star in the global business and investment market and the next three years are set to see the San Diego-Tijuana mega region climb all the charts both domestically and internationally. The area already possesses enviable and unique assets to attract global capital and talent.

For example, San Diego is home to the busiest international border crossing in the world, and has yet to capitalize on this fully. Making the area one of the top regions to attract outside investors will take unwavering commitment by business, civic and social leaders. It needs collaborative initiatives that leverage the collective resources under a clear plan that is agreed to by all.

These goals are the catalyst for the upcoming San Diego Global Partnership Summit, taking place Thursday in downtown San Diego. It is the first in a series of yearly conferences that will enable attendees to learn, network and make deals with the leaders who are taking the region to the next level globally. It also provides a platform for foreign investors to discover the opportunities that lie ahead for San Diego and Southern California businesses, investors and residents.

This year’s panel and keynote topics will cover immigration, cross-border trade, regional investment incentives and opportunities, public/private partnerships, real estate investment, Regulation A+, blockchain and renewable energy. We’re buoyed by the fact that this first summit has already drawn the support from a wide range of organizations, including San Diego Gas & Electric, CBRE, the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department, the World Trade Center San Diego, the San Diego EB-5 Regional Center, Gafcon, the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation and many others.

More needs to occur, but the foundation is set for this region to reach its potential, and we’re well on our way.


Matt Belcher is the CEO and Co-Founder of the San Diego EB-5 Regional Center and the Woodmont Regional Center. He is also the co-founder of the San Diego Global Partnership Summit taking place at the Omni Hotel in downtown San Diego Sept. 20.

Show comments