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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Only a day after a NAFTA panel ruled against the U.S. for its treatment of Mexican truckers; President Bush says he’ll open his 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.

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