The US and Mexico are moving towards a new deal designed to resolve a longstanding dispute over cross-border trucking.
The proposed agreement, unveiled last Thursday by President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Caldern, would effectively end a ban on Mexican trucks crossing the US border. The ban was established nearly 20 years ago as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The deal 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
are prohibited from hauling freight between destinations within the United States.
In a statement, the American Trucking Associations said it supports the agreement in principle.
"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 U.S. and Mexico," ATA President and CEO Bill P. 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."
As Today's Trucking points out, however, the news sparked furor among labor unions and protectionist groups. Teamsters president Jim Hoffa says the deal puts the traveling public and American workers at risk.
The proposed agreement is now headed to the Republican Congress for approval.