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Cometh the NAFTA, Whither the Maquiladora? Reflections on the Future of Industrialization in Northern Mexico

Jeffery T. Brannon, Dilmus D. James


The objective of this article is to explore what impacts NAFTA might have on Mexican maquila operations. Our main focus is on the fate of the maquiladoras located in a narrow strip along Mexico's northern border which account for approximately eighty percent of the total. Our concerns about the future development of the United States-Mexico border region derive partly from the fact that we live there and have no immediate plans to depart, but also due to the region's strategic, geographic, economic and cultural importance. Our observations, couched in a framework of evolutionary change, lead us to more pessimistic prognostications about industrialization in the frontera norte than other projections mentioned below. We conclude that the fundamental shortcoming in the northern border region is the lack of a technological base sufficient to support sustained, dynamic socioeconomic development.

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