20 Years after signing of NAFTA, United States still refuses to comply with trucking provisions

Aduana_02_120 years after Mexico, Canada and the United States signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the folly of the United States failure to fully comply with the trucking provisions of NAFTA as they apply to Mexico is increasing tensions between the two countries.

A few days ago, the consulting firm Standard & Poor’s released a study on the benefits that NAFTA has had on Mexico which has become primarily an exporter of manufactured goods. S&P reported that  trade grew sixfold over 741 billion dollars in 2012 from 117 billion dollars in 1993. Moreover, the United States exports more goods to Mexico (216 billion dollars) than China and Japan combined (181 billion dollars).

Trucks move 60% of the freight in international commerce between the two nations.

Since the issue of safety and qualifications have been firmly put to rest by the Federal Courts, opponents of any Mexican trucks operating in the United States have fallen back on the claim that Mexican trucks and drivers are unable and unwilling to comply with our rules and regulations, although statistics prove otherwise. It has had nothing to do with safety, ability to comply. It’s all been political posturing by groups like the Teamsters where, unlike Canada, they are not permitted to organize in Mexico because of the strength of the labor unions. Opposition for trade associations such as Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has been for entirely different reason, using the bigotry and Mexenophobia of it’s President to attempt to bolster it’s membership. Ironically enough, OOIDA membership is actually falling instead of increasing.

The ban has resulted in an estimated damage at $ 30 billion , $1.5 billion dollars per year, this according to a Notice of Arbitration that has been held in abeyance since 2009 that was filed by the National Chamber of Motor Carrier Cargo (Canacar ), headed by Roberto Diaz, against U.S. government because by keeping its border closed has inhibited investment.

Mexico is fighting back on other fronts as we wait to see what will happen in October of this year when the Cross Border Pilot Program is scheduled to end. A good example of this is that Mexico has imposed rules that no longer allow the importation of used fleet trucks from the United States, the so-called “junk” trucks you see working drayage in the border commercial zones.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers of Buses, Trucks and Tractors ( Anapct ), chaired by Miguel Elizalde,  more than 10 thousand used heavy vehicles entered last year, representing 30% of sales of  trucks. The used vehicles imported from the United States no longer meet regulations for operating legally on Mexico’s Federal highways.

Aduana_02_1The director of Grupo Bimbo, a company that has shown interest in cross-border transportation program, said the delays and clearance procedures are too time consuming for people and goods to cross the border, so it is urgent to ensure that customs are operating 24 hours a day and 52 weeks a year and that upgrades to the border infrastructure be upgraded.

The director stressed that it is unimaginable as dynamic as the economy of the border region is that these limitations still exist.

He said that “it is urgent we rethink the boundaries and the manner in which goods are transported and hopefully can release these restrictions.”

Grupo Bimbo is the largest commercial bakery in Mexico who owns several brand in the United States including Mrs. Bairds, Sara Lee, Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Thomas and Weston Foods.

We’re counting down to 5 months left in the Cross Border Pilot Program and the question is will the United States finally comply with their moral, legal and ethical obligation to allow the Mexican trucks access in the same manner as the Canadians have enjoyed for 22 years, or will the Obama Administration continue to allow themselves to be blackmailed by special interests and bogus safety groups? We know full well these groups are preparing lawsuits covering the same issues they’ve lost in Federal Court over the last two decades in an last ditch effort to prevent our compliance. CANACAR on the other hand has $30 billion good reasons why these groups should be ignored and the US should come into compliance.


This post is part of the following threads: Mexico Cross Border Pilot Program, NAFTA – ongoing stories on this site. View the thread timelines for more context on this post.