The Cross-Border Region Between Mexico and the United States and the Expansion of the Global Production Networks (Session O. Global Value Chains)

Friday, 3 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.2.01 (Tower One)
Maria del Rosio Barajas, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte/San Diego State University, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Session proposed: O. Global Value Chains.

The border regions have become a privileged space for the operation of global production networks, because of the degree of interdependence that have achieved various countries that share one or more borders. Under the context of globalization, transnational corporations have experienced a wide geographic mobility, taking advantage of regional integration processes that have occurred in various regions of the world (NAFTA, EU, MERCOSUR, ASIAN, and MAGHREB, among others. The search for greater competitiveness and decreasing of their production costs has led to these global networks to identify   (among other places) those cross-border spaces where they can develop industrial and complementary business activities, as in the case of Mexico's border with the United States or Morocco with Spain, Spain with Portugal, among other cases.

To Dicken, P. (1998), the creation of global production networks was evident from the 1990s, leading the author to develop a typology of the different productive segments according to the incorporation of added value. In 2001, as part of my doctoral dissertation, I analyzed the behavior of 27 of largest electronics companies located in Tijuana, Baja California; mainly I worked in the identification of the connection of these firms with other companies in the area of San Diego in California and in the city of Tijuana. This connection allowed me to show how companies with production processes based on higher value added were located in the US border cities, while the companies with lower value-added are located in the Mexican border cities. However, in the last two decades, the Mexican border cities have undergone major changes on terms of the quality of the available workforce and, the process of research and development carried out in the region (Carrillo, J. and R. Barajas, 2007). In a survey applied in 2007 among 300 firms, we found that 43% of these companies were based on some type of process of manufacturing, and only 51% was based on simple assembly.  Such changes could not be understood without considering the increasing degree of interdependence that has developed between countries like Mexico and the United States from its participation in NAFTA.

The aim of the paper is to analyze the evolution of the productive relationships that have evolved around these global production networks in the border area between Mexico and the United States, considering the network expansion horizontally and vertically. From a second stage of fieldwork I would like to show the main changes that experienced those productive networks initially identified in 2001. These changes are in terms of geographic organization of the production in the space provided, the incorporation of new companies as providers of inputs (parts, components, equipment), changes in the productive segmentation, as well I would like to identify the incorporation to these networks from other non-productive activities (such as commercial, distribution, packaging, organizational, logistics, etc.).