Trucking/Trade Sites Buzzing About 'Solution'

The National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations that care about NAFTA and international trade were talking Monday about President Obama's promise to resolve the dispute over Mexican trucking companies' access to U.S. highways. Obama made the promise during his weekend meetings in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime MInister Stephen Harper.

This is a knotty dispute with a gloss of misplaced safety concern raised by the Teamsters, notably, in their opposition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's "demonstration" project giving a few Mexican trucking firms access. FMCSA proved the Mexican trucks that came in fared as well in safety inspections as their American counterparts, dispelling the safety issue. But you'll still hear some of the interest groups and congressional allies fretting about unsafe trucks endangering our motorists.

NAFTA requires that the Mexican trucks be allowed in. When Congress put a stop to federal funding for the demonstration project, Mexico retaliated with $2.4 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods moving south, including paper, batteries, and toothpaste, Bloomberg.com reported. The business site said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood is sharing a set of principles about a resolution of the problem with the Mexican government and with members of Congress. Obama promised to address the congressional concerns; if he can, the president will win some points with the Chamber, which says the demonstration project was "an important step toward enhancing North America's competitiveness and promoting economic growth."

Congress is out of town until Labor Day. Stay tuned (if you're fluent in Spanish, the Web site of Canacar, an association of Mexican trucking companies, may be helpful) to see how the president works this one out. But for now, you can ignore any chatter about dangerous Mexican trucks flooding across the border.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Aug 11, 2009


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