Talk of trade protectionism this presidential season is having a chilling effect on U.S. aerospace companies looking to locate production south of the border. For more than a decade, Mexico has aggressively pitched itself as a pro-business and lower-cost alternative for U.S. industrial companies seeking to relocate or expand.
Canaccord Genuity estimates Mexican facilities allow some U.S. companies to achieve a labor savings of as much as 80%. Privately held Icon Aircraft recently announced plans to open a composite air-frame components plant in Tijuana, Mexico, where it eventually expects to employ as many as 1,000 workers. The Vacaville, California-based manufacturer of the A5 light-sport aircraft plans to have the Mexico plant operational next month.