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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 22, officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office joined with those from the Department of Transportation to sit down for a powwow with their Mexican counterparts.

While exact details of the negotiations weren’t released, U.S. officials did take the opportunity to outline details of their vision of an open border that would allow qualified rigs and buses from Mexico to cross freely. They set a deadline of the end of 2001 for plans to be rolled out.

Key to the deal for the U.S. would be ensuring that Mexican equipment meet the same standards as U.S. trucks and trailers. In fact, U.S. impressions of the equipment coming in from the south are so low U.S. insurance groups have blasted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ruling that called for an open border for Mexican trucks.

David Snyder, assistant general counsel of the Washington-based American Insurance Association says three targets need to be met before opening the borders to Mexican rigs. These include: a) safety standards among all three NAFTA nations must be harmonized; b) adequate enforcement of those standards must be implemented; and c) an adequate database must be developed on Mexican truck safety.

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