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SAN DIEGO-Mexport 2001 drew about 3,500 at Pacific Rim Pointe in Otay Mesa.

The trade show annually brings together businesses from California and Mexico seeking to benefit from the trade possibilities opened up by NAFTA. It’s Southern California’s largest and most prestigious exposition promoting trade between the two countries.

“We feel this trade show represents an unparalleled opportunity for businesses in Southern California, and San Diego in particular, to benefit from their proximity to Mexico,” says Scott Andrews, executive vice president of First National Bank, a sponsor of the event.

New NAFTA rules that began last year require Maquiladoras to obtain components and materials used in production from one of the three NAFTA countries — Canada, Mexico and the US — or pay duties on the materials entering Mexico and finished products exported to the NAFTA countries, he says. Some 60% of Maquiladora suppliers are from non-NAFTA countries, so Mexican manufacturers are now looking for new suppliers from the US and Canada.

The exposition showcased more than 280 providers of goods and services.

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