Business Groups Applaud US-Mexican Trucking Pact

Business Groups Applaud US-Mexican Trucking Pact

Business interests hailed a U.S.-Mexico agreement on cross-border trucking that is sure to be opposed by organized labor, independent truckers and others.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and American Trucking Associations welcomed a preliminary agreement between the countries Thursday that would gradually remove trucking barriers at the border.

The pact would eliminate $2.4 billion in tariffs Mexico imposed on select U.S. goods after the U.S. killed an earlier cross-border trucking pilot project in March 2009.

"It is long past time for the United States to live up to its trade commitment and allow cross-border trucking services," said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. "This will be a major step toward providing certainty to trucking companies and shippers throughout North America."

Donohue referred to provisions of the 1994 NAFTA trade agreement that call for cross-border trucking agreements with Mexico and Canada.

But the "clear path" to resolving the dispute envisioned by the White House is replete with roadblocks. The Teamsters union wants no truck with Mexican drivers, and highway safety and consumer advocates oppose cross-border trucking.

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association also wants to keep Mexican drivers off U.S. highways. "Interested members of Congress" may have the final say.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.