Jul 11, 2011

Mexican Economy: Border towns in Mexico give economy a lift

Border towns in Mexico give economy a lift: "MATAMOROS, Mexico • When the latest bloody headlines from the drug war in Mexico reach headquarters in New York, Ken Chandler, the manager of a U.S. electronics manufacturing plant in Matamoros, jumps on the phone.

He is not begging to come home. He is begging to stay. 'We try to put them at ease, to say it is not time to pack up,' said Chandler, who oversees the company's operations in the border city, where the military arrived last week to help purge drug gang members from the Police Department.

Not that his employer, Spellman High Voltage, needs much assurance. Like a crop of other manufacturers at the border, including six companies in Matamoros alone, Spellman is expanding its operations, with a plant under construction after making a calculation that offers one of the starker paradoxes of these violent days in Mexico.

Despite the bleak outlook the drug war summons, the Mexican economy is humming along, not without warning signs, but growing considerably more quickly than that of the U.S.

Even as drug organizations battle for turf around them, more TV sets are being assembled, car parts boxed up and electronic widgets soldered together in the large manufacturing plants known as maquiladoras. The result is a boomlet in jobs in some of Mexico's hardest-hit cities, a bright spot in an otherwise bleak stream of shootouts, departing small businesses and fear of random death."

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