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The value of two-way trade through San Diego topped $56.5 billion last year, 7.2% over 2011, according to economist Kelly Cunningham of the National University System Institute for Policy Research. The value of trade dropped 18% in 2009, then rebounded a total of 27% the next three years. However, adjusted for inflation, the total is still below the record levels between 2006 and 2008, says Cunningham.

Mexico accounted for 86% of 2012 trade. The Tijuana/Baja California area is among the nation's main center for electronics assembly and manufacturing. Most flat-screen TVs sold in the U.S. are produced in the area by Sony and Samsung. The region is also gaining in medical device manufacturing, says Cunningham.

Imports continue to top exports. Last year, world exports from San Diego were $20 billion, while imports were $37 billion. San Diego exported $19 billion of goods to Mexico but imported $30 billion worth. Japan and Germany were a distant third and fourth in trade (combined exports and imports), with totals of a bit over $2 billion each last year.

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