Monday, July 13, 2015

Border Economies

In our trip to the US-Mexico border, we spent four days in El Paso, Texas and Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. Effectively, El Paso and Juárez constitute one large city split by the border fence, where people move between the two cities going about their daily lives.  Many people live on one side of the border and (legally) work on the other side.  Families are spread across the two cities (and hence the two countries). Mexicans living in Juárez regularly come to El Paso to shop.  Dollars are widely accepted in Juárez, and both cities are bilingual.  There are several bridges in which people can walk across to the other country (but still have to go through border security).  Border patrol is present throughout both cities.   The El Paso-Juárez sector epitomizes a border economy, with goods, services and people flowing across the border each direction throughout the day. On our drive through Juárez, we saw literally dozens of maquiladoras (often referred to as maquilas) –  huge manufacturing plants set up by US corporations (Boeing, Lexmark, and Electrolux to name a few) to take advantage of lower wages in Mexico (maquilas became prevalent as the result of North American Free Trade Agreement established in 1992).   As Chapter 9 discusses, immigration between countries can have important impacts on international trade, product diversity, and the price of goods and services in each country.  This is exactly the case in El Paso and Juárez.     

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