In the late 1980s the Central American nation of Mexico became the darling of large-scale manufacturers, thanks to the advent of maquiladoras (foreign-owned assembly plants). A few years later, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) completed the logistics picture by removing certain international traffic restrictions. Despite some drawbacks in Mexico at the time, such as worker educational hurdles, many corporations relocated operations there. A few returned when those aforementioned hurdles led to productivity issues, but for the most part the trend was to move in and stay.
My former employer, Nokia, expanded its Reynosa Mexico production in 2006, which led to the shutdown of the US Alliance facility. At that time Reynosa appeared to be Nokia’s future for North American cell phone production.
But lately Mexico’s chronic troubles with drug-related crime have been escalating to the point that some US officials refer to the situation as civil war. Some go so far as to allege that the US is tacitly supporting the escalation of violence through easy access to weapons and lax oversight: