Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Taking Geographic Advantage.

Byline: Diane Velasco Journal Staff Writer

Initiative proposes luring seasoned manufacturers

New Mexico communities have the opportunity to attract Midwest suppliers of manufacturing sectors in Mexico, border economic developers say.

They have proposed an initiative to recruit suppliers of everything from plastic molding to metal stamps, primarily by promoting New Mexico's geographic advantage, which would significantly reduce the companies' transportation costs.

The hope is to bring industry and jobs to smaller New Mexico cities, duplicating some of the success witnessed in Las Cruces and Santa Teresa.

"The rapid industrialization of Chihuahua presents a unique opportunity to New Mexico to become their value-added supplier base," said Mark Lautman, general manager of Santa Teresa Real Estate Development Corp.

Lautman is convinced that attracting suppliers here is one of the state's only shots at restructuring rural economies hurt by declining mining and the boom-and-bust cycles of the oil and natural gas industries.

To that end, Lautman and other economic developers have proposed a strategic alliance with Delphi Automotive Systems, one of the world's largest auto parts makers.

Delphi, based in Troy, Mich., is one of the largest private employers in Mexico and is an international example of the power of the maquiladora industry south of the border. …

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