Mexico, the New Frontier


The maquiladora or "twin plant" concept originated in the 1970's as a means by which US Corporations could improve the economics of their operations via the Mexican labor market.

The North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), signed in 1994, enhances the importance of Mexico as a major player in US trade and production.

The state of Chihuahua is the Mexican leader in the
maquiladora industry employing over 300,000 workers in 448 maquiladora plants. This represents approximately 25% of the total maquiladora employment of the country of Mexico.

The minimum wage rate of a factory worker in Mexico, with benefits is approximately $4.21 per day.  Total salary per year is $1,650.00 including taxes and required fringe benefits paid by the employer.
The Mexican
maquiladora industry includes 3,288 plants employing over 1.6 million workers. The maquiladora industry has played a key role in positioning Mexico as the largest Latin American exporter and the 13th largest in the world. About half of Mexico's exports of manufactured goods and over 44% of its total exports are derived from the maquiladora industry. Ciudad Juárez is the prime maquiladora location in Mexico, providing about one fifth of the nation's overall maquiladora employment.

U.S. Fortune 500 corporations own over 70 of the
maquiladora plants in Ciudad Juarez. Among these facilities are: telecommunications and electronics assembly plants; "clean room" manufacturing for medical supplies; consumer appliances; and automotive industry manufacturing. One of the major examples of this is Delphi Mexico Trade Center in Ciudad Juarez. This center is dedicated to the research and design of automobile parts used in automobiles throughout the world. The manufacturing industry continues to be the largest component of economic growth in Ciudad Juarez and in all of Mexico.

El Paso/Juarez is ranked 16th in trade among the largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States. Twenty five percent of all trade between the US and Mexico crosses the El Paso/Juarez border.





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