Mexico's border with the United States makes it an attractive place to manufacture items such as appliances, heavy equipment and cars. Most of its manufactured goods go northward to American stores. Mexican manufacturing rose by 3.4 percent in the first nine months of 2014, while Brazil and Argentina's contracted by 1.8 and 2.4 percent, respectively, according to a report from Stratfor.
The automotive sector has been particularly active in the country. Several car companies have announced plans for new factories in the country. Germany's BMW said in late 2014 that it plans to spend about $1 billion building a plant that will begin producing cars in 2019.
Nissan and Daimler will share another $1 billion factory they are building there, and Ford announced plans to build a $2.5 billion dollar plant last April. Audi is going there, too.
Many of those companies have had factories in the country before, but this rush comes as Mexico has boosted efficiency in its state-owned electricity provider, CFE, and made investments in retooling its electricity grid to run on natural gas, instead of the petroleum the country has been using.
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"At the time they considered the reforms, the price of oil was four times the price of natural gas," said David Goldwyn, of energy advisory firm Goldwyn Global Strategies. "Now, even though the price of oil has crashed, it is still two times the price of natural gas."
Roughly a year after instituting the reforms, the country had changed the electricity infrastructure enough to reduce electricity costs for industrial customers by 10 percent, Goldwyn said.
Certainly, other factors have pushed Mexican manufacturing forward. A report from Strafor Intelligence published last April said that Mexico's labor force is now 20 percent cheaper than China's, whereas Mexican labor was almost 60 percent more expensive than Chinese labor in 2000.
Mexico is the "most prolific signer" of free trade agreements in the world, according to a report by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The numerous countries they have signed agreements with are home to 850 million people and 60 percent of global GDP.