There are about 3320 kilometres of frontiers between Mexico and the United States of America: more than three times the length of France. All along the border were built, since the years 1960s, more than 3000 export assembly plants, primarily dedicated to the production of electronic equipment, clothing, plastics, furniture, appliances, or auto parts. These factories, also named maquiladoras or sweatshops, are employing over one million Mexicans. The typical maquiladora employee is a young single underpaid woman working up to ten hours a day, six days a week, in poor conditions and for about 50 cents an hour. The creation of these factories is obviously an idea of the United States of America, which own the majority of them and are the first beneficiaries of the goods produced in maquiladoras.
[...] Part An advantage for Mexico, in search for employment Besides the fact that they represent a huge asset for the United States, in some way maquiladoras are also beneficial for Mexico. They are one of the pillars of the Mexican economy, mostly for employment, as more than one million Mexicans are working in maquiladoras. The economic expansion of the country following its integration to the NAFTA is partly due to these factories. And if Mexico recently suffered from the Chinese competition (the wages are four times lower in China than in Mexico), today the growth rate of the country is increasing: in 2004 and in 2005, thanks to the return of many international companies on the border. [...]
[...] Part A source of benefits for the European Union If maquiladoras clearly represent an asset for the USA and Mexico, they are also beneficial for the European Union: first of all because they are partly owned by European companies, as well as US or South Asia ones. For instance of the factories situated in the city of Tijuana are Spanish. Besides, in July 2000, Mexico signed a Free Trade Agreement with the 15 members of the European Union, and one year later, the same one with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. [...]
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