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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Landmark US-Mexico trucking agreement resolves 15-12 months battle - Business

The United States and Mexico on Wednesday signed an settlement geared toward resolving a cross-border trucking dispute. The longstanding disagreement had come to represent rising resistance, especially in the US Congress, to free-trade provisions with Americas southern neighbor.

The accord, signed in Mexico City by US and Mexican transportation officials, would finish a 15-12 months-previous controversy that on the US facet featured fears of unsafe Mexican trucks barreling along US highways, driven by unprofessional Mexican truckers.

On the Mexican aspect, outrage over the American disregard for a NAFTA provision led to retaliatory tariffs on US goods starting from pork to client care merchandise which cost the US as much as $2 billion in exports.

The accord was greeted warmly by US commerce, farm, and enterprise organizations but condemned by US trucking organizations, a sign the settlement may face hassle in Congress.

Beneath the settlement, the US will reinstate a pilot program for Mexican truck certification that was introduced under the Bush administration and defunded by an angry Congress in 2009. Mexico, in flip, will instantly drop half of the tariffs on about one hundred US merchandise, with the remainder to be removed when Mexican trucks really begin rolling across the border.

The agreements signed at present are a win for roadway safety and they are a win for commerce, stated US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood after signing the documents.

The accord requires all Mexican trucks working in the US to comply with US safety standards, and it mandates the installation of monitoring units to track truck utilization and compliance with service requirements.

Recognizing the potential for a detrimental response from Congress, some supporters of Wednesdays agreement wasted little time with reward and bought right on to warnings towards attempts to as soon as again sidetrack the resolution.

We are inspired there is lastly a optimistic finish in sight, stated Bill Reinsch, president of the Nationwide Foreign Trade Council in Washington. But he added, We urge Congress to refrain from any motion that might derail this system or fall wanting our commitments under NAFTA.

Some, who oppose any trucking accord allowing Mexican vans to return north, continue to hammer at safety concerns.

Opening the border to dangerous vans at a time of excessive unemployment and rampant drug violence is a shameful abandonment of the Division of Transportations obligation to guard Americans from hurt and to spend American tax dollars responsibly, stated Jim Hoffa, normal president of the Teamsters, in a statement. He stated the accord endangers American motorists.

Mexican vehicles are already allowed to flow into within the US inside 25 miles of the border. The new settlement will enable Mexican vans to deliver items into the US and to return items to Mexico, but it surely bars the transport of products between US destinations.

Both sides in the debate over Mexican vans are latching onto the issue of the day jobs to make their case for or against the agreement.

Secretary LaHood said that by opening the door to lengthy-haul trucking between the US and Mexico we are going to create jobs and alternative for our folks and support economic development in both nations.

Farmers are notably pleased: Mexico is the second-largest purchaser of US pork after Japan, for example, but pork gross sales to Mexico have sagged in recent years beneath the retaliatory tariffs.

However the Teamsters Mr. Hoffa says the deal can be a job killer. The so-called pilot program [for certifying Mexican trucks] is a concession to multinational firms that ship jobs to Mexico, he said. It lowers wages and robs jobs from arduous-working American truck drivers and warehouse workers.

The opposing arguments reveal the trucking dispute to be a microcosm of the bigger debate within the US over trade. How Congress responds could recommend which manner the commerce winds are blowing.

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