NAFTA Revisited: The Impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Maquiladora Employment

The rapid employment growth of the Mexican in-bond plants, or maquiladoras, lists prominently among the most conspicuous industrial phenomena occurring the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In the four years from December 1993 to December 1997, maquiladora employment increased by 71.5%. This recent dramatic growth in maquiladora employment would seem to substantiate the expectations of NATFTA naysayers. These critics claimed that maquiladoras “take American jobs.” But has this been the case? What effect, if any, has NAFTA had on the employment growth in maquiladoras?