Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Possible Breakthrough in Trucking Dispute

Cross-border program may start again
Shipping News Feature

US / MEXICO – President Barak Obama is reported to be considering reinstituting the cross-border trucking program between the United States and Mexico. The original scheme was shelved earlier this year as a cost cutting measure and due to problems that led to it being considered inoperable.

The decision has engendered a great deal of animosity between the two countries, with Mexico placing tariffs on a range of US goods and the threat of a $6 billion lawsuit to be launched by Mexican truckers.

Under the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the U.S. was to allow Canadian and Mexican trucking companies to freely move across their border. The Canadian border is open; the Mexican border is not.

This is largely due to a combination of fears concerning the safety of Mexican vehicles and the potential effect on American jobs in the sector, something of great concern to the powerful Teamsters unions and their political representatives.

However, after recent meetings with President Calderon of Mexico, President Obama is reported to have told Calderon he is determined to resolve this ongoing dispute. This backs up statements made Secretary for Transport Ray LeHood, who said that he has been actively lobbying members of the House of Representatives to renew the cross-border trucking program.