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He said companies are still going to be able to preserve jobs in the United States, particularly in management, research and development, engineering, design, logistics support and service.

“We still have all those jobs in Oklahoma,” he said. “If you go to China, your chances are much higher of outsourcing all of that.”

U.S. analysts argue there also is something much deeper at stake than simply tapping cheaper labor south of the border.

“A full 40 percent of the content of U.S. imports from Mexico was originally made in the United States,” according to a November report by Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

“Despite an ‘hecho en Mexico‘ or ‘made in Mexico‘ label, a large portion of the money U.S. consumers spend on Mexican imports actually goes to U.S. companies and workers,” the report states.

“The same cannot be said for Chinese imports, which have only 4 percent U.S. content, or for goods coming from any other country in the world, with the exception of Canada, where U.S. content is 25 percent.”

Mexico ranks as the second-largest destination for U.S. exports, which translates into an estimated 6 million U.S. jobs dependent on trade with the southern neighbor.

Some analysts noted that property rights are better respected in Mexico.

“There are very strong intellectual-property-rights agreements between Mexico and the United States, and that’s not the case with China,” said Frank Esparza, vice president of sales at Co-Production International, a San Diego-based consulting firm that helps U.S. companies open in Mexico.

“If a company moves operations to China, they don’t own anything in China. They’re basically turning over the production work to China,” he said.

“At some point, the Chinese will copy it. And two or three years down the road, you’re going to see your product on the market in the U.S. for less money.”

Other factors are driving companies to Mexico.

Apart from its location just south of the United States and its highway infrastructure for shipping, the “educational system in place here was a big factor,” Mr. Luis Enriquez said.

“The government, locally, is working very hard at helping companies like us meet our workforce need here,” he said.

Growing the future

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