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The Monterrey Industry and the North-American Market: Past and Present Dynamics

Menno Vellinga


Future historical analyses of the process of industrialization in Monterrey, Mexico, will characterize the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s as a watershed. Mexico entered into the GATT in 1986, the Salinas government liberalized imports in 1988 and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. Together these actions have generated radical changes in the conditions under which the Monterrey industry has to produce and compete. All through the hundred years history of industrialization in Monterrey the North American market has been extremely important. For a long period Monterrey has operated there as foreign exporter. It has now joined that same market.

This happened in an atmosphere of optimism. In June 1992 The Economist published an article entitled "It's happening in Monterrey" in which this optimistic view of future developments was supported. An image was presented of a modern industrial city, led by a group of dynamic entrepreneurs ready to meet the challenges of the new situation created by NAFTA. The Monterrey economy was presented as the trailblazer for Mexican interests in the North American market and as the center of a new transborder region that would expand into the Texas heartland. But what might this consist of? Are these appraisals of the future role of the Monterrey economy realistic? What inferences can be drawn from its performance during the initial years of trade liberalization leading up to NAFTA regarding its future performance?

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229