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Latino Daily News

Wednesday March 23, 2011

Dept. of Transportation Report Could Put Holes In Obama’s US-Mexico Trucking Solution

Those opposed to President Obama’s proposed deal with Mexico regarding the re-opening of U.S. borders to Mexican trucks to increase trade believe that a recent report from the Department of Transportation shows a substantial jump in trade with our southern neighbors without the border being completely opened.

Last week, officials announced that surface-transportation trade between the U.S. and Mexico grew 27.6 percent last year. NAFTA trade grew by more than 24 percent, and had the biggest year-to-year increase since the agreement was implemented in 1994.

The proposed deal President Obama reached with Mexican President Felipe Calderon last month would resolve the conflict surrounding the access for Mexican trucks to the U.S.. It is intended to encourage more trade, something Obama says would greatly benefits the economy. The 1994 NAFTA agreement was supposed to allow for the passage of the Mexican trucks, but the U.S. blocked them due to safety and environmental concerns. The block resulted in Mexico imposing tariff on imports of produce from the U.S.

Supporters of lifting the ban, and opening the border noted that truck-based trade with Mexico plummeted by more than $27 billion in the year the full ban was reinstated in 2009, resulting in a decrease in NAFTA revenue.

However, with the recent release from the Department of Transportation showing an increase in last years surface-transportation trade opponents of lifting the ban say it demonstrates that the lift is unnecessary.

Also, Obama’s proposal would require Mexican trucks to carry electronic monitoring devices, with U.S. taxpayers covering the cost. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), in a letter to the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said, “Electronic, on-board recorders keep our highways safe by enforcing hours-of-service laws and keeping fatigued drivers off the road. While I support these measures, it is unfair to ask taxpayers to pay for these devices in Mexican carriers, particularly in light of our current economic climate.”

So while some like Pryor don’t necessarily disagree with lifting the ban, they do disagree with having taxpayers cover the cost of doing so.