Also Made in Mexico: Lifesaving Medical Devices

3/31/2017 New York Times

hospitalTIJUANA, Mexico — The North American Free Trade Agreement has transformed this sprawling border town from gritty party spot to something entirely different: a world capital of medical devices.

Trucks choke boulevards lined with factories, many bearing the names of American-run companies: Medtronic, Hill-Rom, DJO Global and Greatbatch Medical. Inside, Mexican workers churn out millions of medical devices each day, from intravenous bags to artificial respirators, for the global market.

Nearly everyone in America who has a pacemaker — in fact, people all over the world — walks around with parts from here.

When President Trump threatens to redo trade deals and slap steep taxes on imports in an effort to add more manufacturing jobs, he focuses largely on car companies and air-conditioner makers. But the medical devices business makes a particularly revelatory case study of the difficulties of untangling global trade.

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