Mexico Seeks Permanent Solution to U.S.-Mexico Trucking Dispute
According to Jose Luis Paz, the head of Mexico’s trade office in Washington, Mexico is willing to meet with the Obama administration to resolve the ongoing dispute over the access of Mexican trucks to the U.S. market. Paz has stipulated that Mexico wants a permanent solution that provides certainty and complies with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Another pilot program would not meet these requirements, as funding could again be withdrawn.
Although the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has indicated that it already developed a proposal for resolving the current U.S.-Mexico trucking dispute, it has been waiting until after the November 2nd elections to move forward with vetting key members of Congress.
Multiple Congress members, including Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) have been urging the Administration to find a solution to the dispute, as Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs are substantially impacting U.S. exporters. On March 18, 2009 Mexico placed retaliatory tariffs on a variety of US goods after the U.S. Congress cancelled the Cross-Border Trucking Service Demonstration. Mexico amended this tariff list on August 18, 2010 to include products such as apples, dairy products, and pork in order to increase pressure on U.S. Congress members to allow Mexican trucks access to the U.S. market.
On October 6, 2010, nine New York Representatives signed a letter to President Obama addressing the effects of retaliatory apple tariffs on New York producers and urging him to resolve the trade dispute. House members have also sent letters highlighting the nationwide effects of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy farmers. According to a Mexican official, the U.S. has not made any offer to Mexico regarding the dispute, however the DOT is expected to move forward quickly with this issue after the elections.
The new DOT proposal is likely to address safety issues concerning Mexican trucking operations in the U.S. Potential safety concerns expected to be addressed include hours of service, drug testing, and alcohol testing for Mexican truck drivers. According to Paz, Mexican trucks operating in the U.S. have a proven safety record and are already subject to 22 additional safety regulations beyond those of U.S. trucks, which stems from a 2002 DOT appropriations bill.
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