The El Paso - Juarez International Crossings
are among the busiest in terms of commercial trade and passenger traffic between
the two countries. The two cities formally opened the commercial crossing at
the Zaragosa International Bridge in 1992, and are requesting additional crossing
to support the anticipated increase in commerce with the signing of the North
American Free Trade Agreement.
The largest city in Mexico's largest state of Chihuahua, Juarez, can be credited with
taking the lead in promoting the maquiladora industry. While El Paso provides the
industrial service support, high quality of life living conditions or executive
management and trained technicians for the plants, Juarez offers plants, facilities,
labor and management services. Juarez maquilas have expanded 45.6 percent in the
past ten years, and it is estimated that between $6 and $10 billion of manufactured
goods move between these two cities annually. The maquila labor force has quadrupled
since 1982, and it has become more technologically sophisticated. The newer maquilas
of Juarez are moving in the direction of high-tech, capital intensive industries,
especially in the area of consumer electronics and components.
Juarez has one of the highest concentrations of Maquiladoras on the U.S. -
Mexico border with more than 300 plants in operation. These plants are among
the largest, many with over 1,000 employees, providing a combined employment
total of more than 200,000.
Approximately 3,500 experienced professionals and highly skilled technical
people travel to Juarez from El Paso every day to work in the maquilas.
More than 1,000 families have relocated to the Paso del Norte region as a result
of transfers to the maquilas.