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The number of assembly plants in Mexico, known as maquiladoras, has been declining since 2001. Those hit the hardest produce clothing, footwear and other textile products. Due to extensive labor competition from China, from 2001 through the end of 2003 roughly 450 of these establishments either left Mexico to set up shop in the Asian giant or shut down altogether. These garment makers thrive there, where wages can be up to four times lower than in Mexico.

However, higher-end clothing products are more sensitive to seasonal fashion trends. Mexico's proximity to the United States allows it to get such garments to empty store shelves more quickly than China.

Such proximity, analysts say, gives Mexico--and other "nearshore" producers--an advantage over Asia.

"In the years to come, we will see renewed and sustained growth but the growth rates won't be in double digits like they were in the 1990s or even in the 1980s," says John Christman, a textiles analyst at consultancy Global Insight in Mexico City.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Indicators
Author:Pareja, Roberto
Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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