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Tijuana Retail Reaps Profits That Once Flowed North

Jean Guerrero - KPBS
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May 17, 2017
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Tijuana's Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign called "I Shop In Tijuana" to ride the new wave of Mexican patriotism (Canaco Tijuna)

People in Mexico have been paying close attention to Trump’s comments about immigrants because many have families in the U.S. that could be affected by his policies. Many are offended by his descriptions of immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals,” and his claim that Mexico will pay for a $20-billion-plus border wall.

The anger has triggered a newfound sense of Mexican patriotism, which has been beneficial for Tijuana retail, according to Tijuana's Chamber of Commerce. Rumors about tougher customs inspections are also scaring consumers away from San Diego, and instead, boosting consumer spending in Tijuana.

“I think all of the publicity about Trump, about his wall, and all of that bla-bla-bla, I think lots of local (Tijuana) people have stopped buying American products and have stopped shopping in the U.S.,” said Felipe Acevedo, a Tijuana arts and crafts vendor who said he's seeing a boom in sales to Mexican customers.

Acevedo said Tijuana residents are increasingly interested in ceramic mugs, sombreros and other products that are “made in Mexico.” His store is located on Avenida Revolución, which used to cater to San Diego tourists in quest of cheap margaritas and Mexican souvenirs. Now, the street is crowded with residents from Mexico and offers merchandise geared toward locals.

Tijuana’s Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign in November to ride the new wave of Mexican pride: “Yo Compro en Tijuana,” or “I Shop In Tijuana.” It encourages businesses to do what they can to compete with San Diego businesses – for example, allowing customers to return items that are broken or do not fit, a practice that is less common in Mexico than in the U.S.

“(Trump) has awakened a sense of Mexican patriotism,” said Mario Escobedo Carignan, president of Tijuana’s Chamber of Commerce. “He says, ‘America first, then the rest of the world.’ So we’re doing the same.”

Read the rest at KPBS


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