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MEXICO CITY -- Linda J. Wachner, chief executive officer, The Warnaco Group, and Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari exchanged salutes to the North American Free Trade Agreement as Warnaco's new bra assembly plant in Tetla, Tlaxcala, was dedicated last week.
"The most fundamental truth of this day is that Warnaco is opening this plant, which will employ 2,000 people, because you, Mr. President, and your team opened the way to North American free trade," Wachner said.
Salinas stated that the plant was a "concrete result of NAFTA."
"We welcome this commitment to participate in the development of our country," he said.
"A few months ago this was an empty space...a promise. Today it is a reality. More than 500 jobs are already available in this facility, and before the year ends, 2,000 Tlaxcaltecas will be employed."
As reported, the 140,000-square-foot plant located in the Xicotencatl Industrial Park will fashion American-made and cut materials into bras for Warnaco's Warner's, Olga and licensed Fruit of the Loom brands. The factory is expected to produce some one million dozen bras annually for shipment to the U.S. and other foreign markets.
The plant is Warnaco's fourth bra assembly facility in Mexico producing for foreign markets. It also has a fifth plant that does full production of bras for the Mexican market.
"We expect to invest more in Mexico," said Wachner, who plans to open a fifth assembly facility in early 1995, in Puebla, where employment will also be about 2,000.
"Warnaco is proud to be a NAFTA company -- a company that transcends old boundaries and operates in the new world of free trade in every phase of our operations," she continued. "We count on the jobs that we create. We seek not to take advantage, but to form a productive partnership.
"But we are also here because of the strengths of Mexico itself -- particularly the favorable environment it offers to business and its extraordinary workers, strong and talented."
Also on hand for the ceremony was the governor of Tlaxcala, Jose Alvarez Lima, who in a welcoming speech underlined the importance not only of the jobs this new plant creates in the state, but of the job training received by workers under a program set up by the Mexican Work Office.
One of the newly trained workers, Patricia Lumbreras Palomino, speaking in the name of her fellow workers, thanked Salinas and Wachner for the opportunity to do a better job so the new plant "will become the most successful plant in Mexico, so in turn we will all have better economic opportunities and better lives."
Among other government officials in attendance was the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, James Jones.