Mexico will no longer accept a U.S. pilot program as a way of allowing Mexican trucks to operate in the U.S., a senior Mexican diplomat said Friday.
“If you put in place a demonstration project similar to what we had, it can begin, but it can be defunded at any time,” said Jose Luis Paz Vega, the head of the trade and North American Free Trade Agreement office at the Mexican embassy in Washington. “Mexico is not willing to take that any more. We need a program that is permanent, that has certainty, and complies with NAFTA. And we’re not willing to accept anything less than that.”
Paz spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the National Foreign Trade Council to outline 14 steps that Mexico is taking to facilitate trade. He noted that U.S. manufacturers benefit from Mexico’s exports since 35 percent of the exported goods contain components imported from the U.S.
By The Numbers: U.S. Surface Trade With Mexico.
Since 2009, Mexico has imposed tariffs on U.S. goods valued at more than $2 billion in retaliation for the U.S. refusal to admit Mexican trucks. The tariffs are sanctioned since a NAFTA panel found the U.S. violated the terms of the trade agreement in 1998 by barring Mexican motor carriers.
U.S. labor groups have vigorously opposed allowing Mexican trucks to cross the border. In 2007, the Bush administration began a pilot project that admitted a limited number of Mexican trucking companies into the U.S. The Democratic Congress stopped funding of the project in 2009.
Paz said it takes three trucks to move goods from Mexico to the U.S.: one that goes to the U.S. border, a second that drays the van across the border, and a third to move goods to their destination He called it an inefficiency that was harming the North American economy.
Paz said that the Obama administration appears ready to resolve the issue. “I think they are waiting until the right time to do it,” he said. “Unfortunately that time has not come now for 15 years.”
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