Industrial Exchanges Across the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Export Platform Thesis Reconsidered in Tijuana & San Diego

Kathryn Kopinak

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Resumen

Este artículo analiza las importaciones y las exportaciones en el cruce de la Mesa de Otay, situado en Tijuana en la frontera con Estados Unidos, con la finalidad de esbozar lo que previamente se ha supuesto como una economía industrial regional. Los hallazgos demuestran que la reputación de la industria mexicana en esta área como sólo una plataforma de exportación es restringida y necesita ser ampliada para incluir la contribución que otros sectores, como el no maquilador y las industrias PITEX, han hecho al comercio internacional con las Californias. Estos datos también permiten delinear un corredor industrial aunque trunco y sin mucha extensión longitudinal.

 

ABSTRACT

This study analyzes imports and exports at the Mesa de Otay crossing in Tijuana on the U.S.-Mexico border in order to empirically outline what has previously been assumed to be a regional industrial economy. The findings demonstrate that the reputation of Mexican industry in this area as only an export platform is narrow and needs to be elaborated to include the contribution which non-maquiladora and PITEX industries make to international trade in the Californias. To the extent that an industrial corridor can be delineated by these data, it exists in truncated form without much longitudinal extension.

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Referencias

Collection and analysis of the data were supported by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (UCSD), King's College (University of Western Ontario), The Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias (SDSU), Shellhammer and Associates, Delcas-Intemational and the Social Science Research Council of Canada. The data were collected under the direction of Gustavo del Castillo V. A previous draft of this paper was delivered at the 1998 meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, September 24-25, 1998. The author would like to thank Gustavo del Castillo V. for making the data available for this analysis. However, only the author is responsible for the contents of this paper.

* Profesora-investigadora visitante en el Departamento de Estudios Sociales de El Colef. E-mail: kopinak@colef.mx

James M. Cypher and James L. Dietz, 1997, The Process of Economic Development, New York, Routledge, p.449.

Leslie Sklair, 1989, Assembling For Development, Boston, Unwin Hyman, p. 19.

Bruce Sinclair, 1997, A Maquiladora Classification and PITEX Program Primer. Monterrey, N.L.: Mexico Direct Business Services. The pitex program was begun in 1985 in order to offer many of the same advantages of the maquiladora legislation. Although few businesses have taken advantage of the former in comparison to the latter, Sinclair suggests that it could be an ideal transitional tool since the pitex program is not being phased out with NAFTA.

John H. Christman, 1997, Maquiladora Industry Outlook. Maquiladora Industry Analysis. Eddystone, Pennsylvania: Ciemex-Wefa. 10 (1), 3.1-3.6, 3.5

Alfredo Hualde and Alejandro Mercado Celis, 1996. "Al sur de California, industrialización sin empresarios", Revista Latinamericana de Estudios del Trabajo, 2 (3), pp. 55-82.

Secretaría De Desarrollo, 1998, Indicadores de empleo y desempleo, Estadísticas económicas, INEGI.

Daniel Hiernaux, 1986, Urbanización y autoconstrucción de vivienda en Tijuana, México, D.F.: Centro de Ecodesarrollo, p. 46.

Rocío Barajas, 1989, Complejos industriales en el sur de Estados Unidos y su relación con la distribución espacial y el crecimiento de los centros maquiladores en el norte de México, in B. González Aréchiga and R. Barajas Escamilla (compiladores), Las maquiladoras: ajuste estructural y desarrollo regional, Tijuana, Fundación Friedrich Ebert.

Paul Ganster, 1997, The U.S.-Mexico Border In Comparative Perspective. Research Seminar on Mexico and U.S.-Mexican Relations, The Center For U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California at San Diego, November 12.

Clemente Ruiz and Pablo Wong, 1997. The Arizona-Sonora Region, Integrating Cities and Regions, p. 5.

Ruiz and Wong. Op. cit.

Irma Núñez, 1998, "Congeladora de fresa en San Quintín: Corredor agroindustrial". El Mexicano, 1 de enero: Al, A6

These countries were Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippinnes, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Singapore.

San Diego was the target city for largest percentage (34.4) of Mexican exports and Los Angeles the second (17.8). As noted in the methodology section, it was more difficult to record city of destination for exports than imports because of the very heavy truck traffic crossing from the south to the north. Unfortunately, 40.3 percent of the cities to which Mexican exports went were not recorded for this reason.

The Zona Costa is defined as all the municipalities in Baja California with the exception of Mexicali.

This has been suggested in the period since the data were collected. On September 30, 1998, SourceMex 9(27) reported that Canacero president José Antonio Gómez said his chamber requested the government's intervention because a surge in Asian steel imports, many illegally mislabeled as U.S. products, had pushed down the price of flat steel in Mexico.

Pablo Wong González, 1993, La nueva industrialización rural en Sonora: de la villa a la "fábrica global", en Miguel Ángel Vázquez Ruiz (coord.) Sonora hacia el 2000: Tendencias y desafíos, Hermosillo, Sino, S.A. de C. V.

Secretaría de Desarrollo Económico, 1995, Análisis de las exportaciones de Baja California. 1991-1994, Mexicali, Gobierno del estado de Baja California, p. 4.

Interview with Leticia Vázquez, Subdirectora de Promoción a la Industria y al Comercio Exterior, at SECOFI's Zona Costa Office in Tijuana, January 30, 1998. See also Françoise Lestage, 1998, "Los indígenas mixtecos en la frontera norte (1977-1996)", in Notas: Revista de información y análisis, no. 4, INEGI, pp. 18-27. This study of Mixteco marital records reports that in Tijuana, Mixteco women often work in factories to supplement or double their husband's income, although their work as street vendors is sometimes more visible. Although they report their occupation as housewives, they often work permanently in factories or temporarily when a couple needs to build a house, put on a party or pay unusual expenses.

Susan Tiano, 1987, "Women's Work and Unemployment in Northern México", in V. L. Ruiz and S. Tiano (eds.), Women on the U.S.-Mexico Border, &Unwin,;pp. 17-40.

Interview with Samuel Colín, Industrial Development Promoter, Industrial Development Commission of Mexicali, April 13, 1998.





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