FACTS ON THE MAQUILADORAS
- US-owned maquiladoras are assembly plants in Mexico that employ Mexican labour to make products mostly for export back to the United States. In 1965 the Mexican government set up the Border Industrialization Programme which created export platforms for US companies on favourable terms. The word 'maquiladora' is derived from maquilar, which means 'to submit something to the action of a machine'. When US companies opened factories in Mexico, the name maquilar evolved to refer to the process of assembling parts manufactured elsewhere.
- Approximately 2,100 maquiladora plants produce electronic goods, auto parts, chemicals, furniture, machinery and other goods in Mexixo. The number has increased more than fourfold since the mid-1980s. About 550,000 workers are employed in the maquiladoras. Ninety percent of the plants are US-owned.
- Many ofthe largest US corporations have maquiladora plants, including (AT&AT, Becton Dickenson, Cooper Industries, R.R. Donnelly, Ford Motor, General Electric, General Motors, W.R. Grace, Johnson & Johnson and Zenith) Allie-Signal, Baxter International, Chrysler, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Emerson Electric, IBM, ITT, Kimberly-Clark, Parker Hannifin, PepsiCo, United Technologies, Xerox and many others.
- Maquiladoras receive government subsidies like preferential tariffs and taxation. Maquilas pay no tariffs on materials and semi-finished products imported into Mexixo. When maquilas ship finished products back to the US, they pay tariffs only on the value added in Mexico, not the value of the entire product.
- An informal market badket survey was recently completed in Piedras Negras near the Texas border in March 1995. The survey showed that maquila workers need at least $6.66 per day in order to buy the items they need. Workers are actually taking home $3.20 per day, which means that of the 30 items that are needed every day, the maquiladora worker can only afford 13 (the most basic staples, such as breans and tortillas).