Teamsters union General President James P. Hoffa said he is "deeply disappointed" in the Obama administration's plan to negotiate a new cross-border trucking agreement with Mexico.
"Why would the DOT propose to threaten U.S. truck drivers' and warehouse workers' jobs when unemployment is so high?" Hoffa said. "And why would we do it when drug cartel violence along the border is just getting worse?"
The Department of Transportation on Thursday released an "initial concept document" providing a bare outline for a cross-border trucking program that would replace a pilot project shut down by Congress and the White House in 2009.
A copy of the document is available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Web site.
In 2009, Mexico imposed on nearly 90 U.S. products, including pork, frozen potatoes and grapes, about $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs, which manufacturers claim cost the U.S. thousands of jobs and gave business to international competitors.
It expanded the retaliatory tariffs last summer, after talks with the Obama administration failed to produce a new agreement on cross-border trucking, a NAFTA provision long since implemented on the northern U.S. border with Canada.
The White House wants to replace the Bush administration's pilot project with a new agreement that will meet the cross-border trucking terms of NAFTA, but Hoffa called the Bush-era pilot program "a failure that shouldn't be repeated."
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