WASHINGTON, D.C. - A day after a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel ruled against the U.S. for its treatment of Mexican truckers, President George W. Bush said he'll open the country's ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A day after a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel ruled against the U.S. for its treatment of Mexican truckers, President George W. Bush said he’ll open the country’s highways to the foreign rigs.
A spokesperson for the White House told media the president’s aides were reviewing the NAFTA report, but would not indicate how compliance would be achieved.
A key stumbling block to Mexican trucks gaining greater access to U.S. markets has been the U.S. Department of Transportation’s opinion that the rigs from south of the Rio Grand have a poor safety record. It insists 35 per cent of the units inbound from Mexico are placed out-of-service.
Transport officials from Mexico complain U.S. protectionism has cost their country $2 billion, despite the fact that it has harmonized its safety standards with those of its northern neighbor.
An arbitration panel ruled the U.S. violated NAFTA rules when it refused to allow Mexican trucks free access to all states. The panel, however, added the U.S. can require the trucks running out of Mexico to meet its safety standards.
Under NAFTA regulations, Mexico-based trucks were supposed to enjoy unrestricted access to highways in the states bordering Mexico as of 1995, with full access to all U.S. highways by January of last year. The U.S. refused to implement that rule, noting safety concerns and pressure from the Teamsters union. For its part, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters slammed the ruling.
“Our nation has surrendered control over access to U.S. highways to outside … un-elected representatives of foreign governments,” says Teamsters general president James P. Hoffa. n
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