U.S. Highways Soon to be Available to Mexican Trucks

The freight marketplace issue of Mexican trucks being authorized to be able to drive on US roadways has become extremely heated among the truck drivers and owner operators.
By: Thomas Crown
Jan. 25, 2011 - PRLog -- The U.S. proposed opening its highways to Mexican trucks under a second test program that may call for Mexican drivers to become proficient within the English language and United States visitors guidelines.  

According to Humberto Trevion, the Mexican Deputy Transportation Manager, the United States and Mexico are actions closer to achieving an agreement which may permit cross-border trucking.  Cross border transportation has long been a lengthy problem for a long time.  Under original terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the U . S . had previously agreed to permit delivery of freight shipments in the U.S. by Mexican truck drivers, although US officials have refused to permit Mexican truckers ability to drive as a result of safety concerns and also union pressures. A previous cross border freight program had been created by the United States as well as subsequently cancelled, which lead to Mexico imposing tariffs on numerous U . S . products.

The United States Department of Transportation had stated the administration will continue to work with Congress along with other stakeholders to put safety initial.  The Department of Transportation has stated it will continue working to create a program which creates jobs and promotes economic growth in the United States and keep the public informed how the details of such a Mexican trucking program as they are developed.

Mexican officials will send comments and clarifications by mid January on the plan the United States released these days as well as US transportation officials can travel to Mexico to start talks, Trevino said.  Trevino went on to say that both nations are working toward building a conceptual agreement as well as are willing to work as well as negotiate the very best agreement between the two countries Officials have hopes of completing such an agreement in the near future.  Trevino spoke following a phone call between United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and also Juan Molinar Horcasitas, Mexico’s transportation and also communications minister.

The new agreement as being discussed would allow for a three year trial program which would include many more truckers and would cut down on border crossing paperwork.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has criticized the Obama administration for its relationships with business, praised the suggested program, saying it would likely aid the goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.

Mexico is the U.S.’s third-biggest trading partner, after Canada and China. Trade between Mexico and the United States reached $306 billion during 2009.  Mexico, beginning in March 2009, has imposed import tariffs on a rotating list of 99 U.S. products valued at about $2.5 billion. The Mexican Import tariffs vary widely from consumer sunglasses and shoes to food products such as rice and beef.  Martin Rojas, the American Trucking Associations’ vice president for security and operations, called the draft a positive development in trying to bring forth this longstanding dispute between the United States and Mexico.

The American Freight Association (whose Arlington, Virginia- based group represents significant United States Freight Carriers which includes YRC Worldwide Inc.) had stated that they look forward to learning more details about this new program in the near future.    Jose Refugio Munoz, the head of the Mexican trucking industry group known as Canacar, said he is skeptical the program will work because of differences in Mexican and U.S. environmental and also labor regulations.

Munoz believes such cooperation is merely a motive to get Mexico to remove tariffs on the U.S. Imports along with nothing more.  Groups including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association criticized the plan, saying it would jeopardize U.S. jobs due to the fact though Mexican drivers would wish to drive in the United States, drivers from the U.S. wouldn’t want to traverse Mexican highways.

Until the Mexican government is able to considerably diminish the rampant crime and also violence within its borders, commits to addressing its deteriorated infrastructure, along with promulgates regulations that considerably enhance its freight marketplace, U.S. truckers will be unable to benefit from the anticipated reciprocity said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. The dispute over allowing Mexican trucks beyond a limited zone close to the U.S. border dates back to 1995 when the United States refused to implement the Nafta-required cross-border plan.
The concern of trucks from Mexico being permitted to enter the United States is one that comes with lots of controversy attached to it. The volumes of letters that various political offices have received from truck drivers along with company owners within the trucking firm indicate that this isn't a welcomed change in the field of the transportation business. Quite a few are afraid it will compromise the contracts they've in place as the workers from Mexico will be willing to haul the shipments for a lower cost.

Additionally with such resistance, a pilot program was allowed to transport forward in September of 2007. This allowed an initial 859 carriers from Mexico to start entering the United States for work. This project is being monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It's not known if the program will likely be able to continue as there is presently a motion on the floor of the United States legislation to bring it to a halt.

The biggest complaints from typical citizens appear to be with the concern that they do not believe trucks coming from Mexico will likely be safe. Under the initial pilot program agreements, many of the truck drivers need to have the ability to read as well as write English at an acceptable level. This way they can safely navigate with the road signs, talk to law enforcement, as well as complete needed paperwork.

You can find no restrictions on the products that the trucks from Mexico can bring into the United States or take back to Mexico. Numerous are concerned that this makes it possible for them to carry hazardous materials. They also worry about the possibility of more semi trucks being used for drug trafficking purposes under such an agreement. Many folks believe it really is not safe to have people from other countries coming into the United States with the capacity to carry dangerous materials. With the risk of terrorist attacks being possible with the use of such items on semi trucks it's absolutely something to think about.

The rules would only allow Mexican trucks to haul goods between the United States and Mexico and would likely prohibit them from moving freight shipments within the U.S.

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Source:Thomas Crown
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