On the Mexican side of the border, manufacturers say anti-NAFTA stance could backfire

02/13/2018 Houston Chronicle

manufacutiringIn the 1990s, Julio Chiu’s textile manufacturing business here employed hundreds of people and shipped thousands of pairs of jeans across the United States.

The business, split between Juarez and El Paso on the other side of the border, grew for half a decade under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lowered barriers to trade between Mexico, the United States and Canada. But when China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 – allowing multinational manufacturers to take advantage of China’s cheap labor by moving operations there – Chiu was forced to get out of the textile business.

“I realized I was going to have a tough time competing with China,” said Chiu, founder and chief executive of another manufacturing company, the El Paso-based medical device maker Seisa. “I decided I would concentrate on the medical device industry, and I’ve been able to compete.”

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