Japanese giants Sony, Sanyo Electric, and Hitachi paved the way by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Mexican border factories called maquiladoras. Now, scores of U.S. businesses are taking advantage of Mexico's affordable skilled labor force.
Shared production plants offer big and small businesses a cost-effective way to make products. There are about 3,000 maquiladoras employing more than one million workers in Mexico. The biggest attraction is paying workers very low wages compared to U.S. wages—about $2.50 an hour.
The majority of border plant workers are assembling electronic equipment and automotive parts. They also make medical devices, textiles, and furniture.
While it's easy ...