« Insights > Maquiladora

Mexico's Best Kept Secret: Tijuana

Karla Salinas | 21.05.2014

Advanced human capital, design, innovation, and decreasing costs have indeed substituted decapitations and kidnappings in the border city of Tijuana. Only a few years ago, between 2008 and 2010, the then violence-ravaged city in Mexico’s northernmost state, Baja California, left authorities stunned and speechless. Violent attacks affected everyone from women to security guards and prominent businessmen.

Advanced human capital, design, innovation, and decreasing costs have indeed substituted decapitations and kidnappings in the border city of Tijuana. Only a few years ago, between 2008 and 2010, the then violence-ravaged city in Mexico’s northernmost state, Baja California, left authorities stunned and speechless. Violent attacks affected everyone from women to security guards and prominent businessmen.

Now, few locations in Mexico offer what Tijuana does in terms of innovation, service, and cost for businesses, with superior education, excellent transportation, fancy Baja-Med cuisine, and improved security.

Jorge Astiazarán, mayor of Tijuana and a staunch defender of metropolitan politics, is enacting a strong triple-play strategy not only for the municipality of Tijuana but for the greater Baja region. “The government doesn’t create work; it’s the private sector, but the government allows investment in infrastructure, security, and schooling. In other words, we work together.”

With the rehabilitation of the Tijuana-Tecate rail network planned for this year, the manufacturing city will be connected to the rail system in the United States, allowing for goods from Asia to reach the Port of Ensenada bypassing the Panama Canal and avoiding the congested US ports while assisting Mexico’s growing maquiladora (manufacturing) industry.

Since 2004, Tijuana has positioned itself as the nation’s leader in the areas of medical devices, electronics, and automotive, and most recently developed a unique aerospace industry. With over sixty firms established in Baja California, the state hosts 25 percent of the total companies in Mexico; the manufacturing, assembling, repairing, and designing aircraft components is mostly located in the Tijuana-Tecate-Mexicali corridor.

As a practicing physician, Astiazarán believes “there are big changes on the horizon in the next few years and not only in the automotive industry but in the aerospace, biomedical and medical tourism areas. I envision this city with more openness, more transparency, and better infrastructure.” In line with Tijuana’s Economic Development Center’s slogan, “Be more global, more competitive, and far more profitable!” Astiazarán insists the city has become a truly global player. “Relations with the United States have evolved and both countries are now excellent partners. Our neighbours keep telling us Tijuana is Mexico’s best-kept secret. Drugs and crime still exist, but the city is a much safer place.”

“We are not going to end the corruption but we are working to not increase it,” Astiazarán explains. “As long as our citizens keep on interacting the way they have been doing, we are certainly going to grow in the right direction.”

Source: foreignaffairs.com

Insights

Top