Just minutes from Del Rio rests a manufacturing mecca that’s home to some of the world’s most prominent companies. From Kimberly-Clark to General Electric, dozens of global leaders have discovered the advantages of maquiladoras located in Northeast Mexico’s Ciudad Acuna.
Operating under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican factories import materials and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly or manufacturing and re-export the assembled product back to the originating country.
“The main significance of doing business here is the low cost of labor,” says Don Newton, chairman of Acuna-based Border Opportunity Saver Systems. “Companies looking for ‘offshore’ places to manufacture and save money also find that we’re easy to get to, unlike somewhere like China.”
With 115,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Mexico and 60,000 square feet of warehousing and distribution space in the United States, BOSS provides a full range of manufacturing services while adhering to strict federal regulations. The company provides U.S. management style, multi-shift operations for global giants including Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart. Small-business owners who appreciate the cost efficiency and accessibility afforded by maquiladoras also utilize the factories.
“Our entire life is on both sides of the border,” says Kim Canseco, Del Rio resident and entrepreneur. “We work in Mexico but live in Del Rio, and have lived that for generations.” Canseco’s family-run ranch, Rancho El Ojo de Agua, produces beef cattle and offers premier whitetail-deer hunting in the Northern Coahuila, Mexico Canyonlands.
In 2009, the environmentally minded Canseco and her family teamed with BOSS to create an accessory line using discarded feed sacks from the ranch and surplus maquiladora seatbelt scraps for handles. Today, Canseco’s eco-friendly Ojo de Agua Bolsas can be purchased online and throughout the U.S. with tags that read “Made with love,” in both English and Spanish.
“There are so many skilled people in Acuna, and we’ve been impressed with their sewing operation and what they can do,” Canseco says. “It’s a very efficient labor force with reasonable prices.” Located within five industrial parks sprawled over more than 200 acres, Acuna’s maquiladoras are recognized for their healthy labor atmosphere and world-class work force virtually free of labor unions. Workers are exceptionally trained, as local universities and schools tailor programs to meet the specific needs of area employers.
Footwear, plastic containers, electronics and automotive parts are just a few of the industries represented in Acuna’s maquiladoras. Conveniently located along the border halfway between the east and west coasts of the United States, Acuna also offers lower prices on product loads and transfers of raw materials and finished products.
In addition, Acuna-Del Rio is recognized for having the fastest crossing time on the Mexico-U.S. border, allowing business travelers the security of lodging in the U.S. while enjoying a Mexico commute time of less than 30 minutes. “We have strong feelings for the people here and are glad to be providing jobs,” Canseco says.
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