ATA supports cross-border trucking pilot program

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American Trucking Associations officials on Tuesday, Oct. 18, praised leaders in Mexico and the United States for their work to end the long-running dispute over cross-border trucking. The pilot program officially began Friday, Oct. 14, after officials granted provisional operating authority to the first Mexican carrier participant, Transportes Olympic.

“We’re pleased that after years of delay, and untold billions in economic damage, the Obama administration has found a way to live up to our obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer.

In March, Mexico agreed to remove the remaining 50 percent of the $2.4 billion retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agricultural, consumer and other products five days after the program began. “Congress put us in this position of violating NAFTA in 2009 by halting a successful pilot program,” Graves said. “This short-sighted action led to Mexico raising tariffs on hundreds of products, which we’re thankful to the Mexican government for dropping.”

Incoming ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc., echoed Graves’ remarks. “These tariffs hurt not just American farmers and manufacturers, but carriers like mine that carried those goods into Mexico,” England said. “By resolving this dispute, the administration has seen clear to overlook the alarmist and overblown claims by organized labor and alleged ‘safety’ groups to promote open markets for U.S. companies in this time of economic challenge.”

ATA has a longstanding policy in support of NAFTA’s cross-border trucking provisions, provided those provisions are implemented equally. “The trucking provisions of NAFTA should allow for more efficient, safe and secure trade between the U.S. and one of its largest trading partners,” Graves said. “While we still have reservations about how the U.S. government will provide oversight for Mexican carriers, we hope that Mexico will also provide transparent access for American companies eager to compete in the market.”