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ATA supports new US-Mexico trucking agreement

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The American Trucking Associations said it supports the announcement of an agreement in principle between the governments of the US and Mexico to implement the long-delayed cross-border trucking provisions of the North...


ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations said it supports the announcement of an agreement in principle between the governments of the US and Mexico to implement the long-delayed cross-border trucking provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“ATA is pleased that Presidents Obama and Calderon and their administrations have worked through their differences and have put our two countries on the path to resolving this issue after nearly 16 years,” ATA president and CEO Bill P. Graves said following yesterday’s announcement. “We hope this agreement will be a first step to increasing trade between our two countries, more than 70% of which crosses the border by truck.”

The agreement upholds previous requirements for Mexican trucks operating on US highways, notably that Mexican fleets apply for and receive authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, demonstrate they meet the same safety standards as US fleets and that those trucks are prohibited from hauling freight between destinations within the US.

“When properly implemented, NAFTA’s trucking provisions should evolve to allow for a more efficient, safe and secure environment for cross-border operations between the US and Mexico,” Graves said. “Ensuring a level playing field requires that both countries establish permitting and regulatory processes that are clear and transparent to ensure that carriers from both countries are treated equitably.” 

However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has expressed outrage on at the proposed agreement.

“Simply unbelievable,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of OOIDA. “For all the president’s talk of helping small businesses survive, his administration is sure doing their best to destroy small trucking companies and the drivers they employ.

“Small business truckers are in the midst of dealing with an avalanche of regulatory rulemakings from the administration. They are also struggling to survive in a very difficult economy. This announcement is tantamount to rubbing salt in wounds already inflicted.”

ATA has said it is hopeful that the lifting of the retaliatory tariffs that were imposed after a previous cross-border trucking pilot program was abolished by Congress in 2009 will help the two countries resume more normal trading patterns and increase the flow of commerce between the two countries.

However, OOIDA contends the legality of the original tariffs should have been challenged. Spencer noted, “The administration’s failure to challenge those tariffs has jeopardized the livelihoods of millions of truckers and other Americans.

“Mexico’s economic bullying tactics should not be tolerated. The onus is on Mexico to raise the safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry,” added Spencer. “We should not allow ourselves to be harassed into lowering our standards.”


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