I have been overwhelmed at the response around the nation and the world to the Obama administrations illegal action in pulling funding for the successful Mexican Cross Border Demonstration Program. Under NAFTA provisions, Canadian and Mexican trucks were to be allowed to operate in and out of the United States and American carriers were to be given reciprocal privileges. Canadians have been given that privilege.
Due to lies and exaggerations from Teamsters President Jim Hoffa and his protectionist allies and corrupted politicians, the Mexican trucks were denied access. Hoffa and Todd Spencer of OOIDA would have the American people believe that the majority of Americans do not want Mexican trucks in this country. They have promoted the lies that involved the immigration debate and preyed on people groundless fear of things they know nothing about.
But the tide is turning. Editors, Reporters, Economists and more have taken a close look at the issue of Mexican trucks and have arrived at the same conclusion that those of us at Mexicotrucker.com have been preaching for two years. Here is a sampling of the reaction from around the nation.
[ad#post_links] From FORBES and Sidney Weintraub
The U.S. Department of Transportation and an independent evaluation commissioned by the department both reported that the safety and out-of-service record of the Mexican long-haul trucks was superior to that of U.S. trucks…….
It was also incomprehensible other than it may have acted as a repayment of debt owed to the Teamsters Union for its support of the Democrats in the recent presidential and congressional elections……
The proponents of the funding cutoff repeatedly assert that Mexican long-haul trucks pose a safety danger, ignoring the unbiased evidence to the contrary…….. Sidney Weintraub holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
FROM the WALL STREET JOURNAL
Washington Starts Another Trade War
In violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. last week again closed its southern border to any Mexican trucks additional to those with existing permits. It did so on the usual grounds that Mexican trucks are unsafe, even though that hoary claim has been demolished by extensive testing. But Congress and President Barack Obama are catering to the Teamsters union, which has spent more than a decade lobbying to keep Mexican competition off U.S. highways………
Congress seemed to be acting in bad faith. “When the inspector general confirmed that the department was making substantial progress toward those goals, Congress began adding additional requirements in subsequent appropriations bills. And it continues today.”………
A 2007 DOT study of the performance of Mexican carriers in the U.S. from 2003-2006 found Mexican trucks to be safer than U.S. trucks. Even Mexican short-haul trucks operating in the border zone had a better record than U.S. trucks……….
he 27 Mexican carriers in the pilot program compiled an impressive safety record in 2008, judging by the rate at which randomly stopped vehicles received an “out-of-service” designation — meaning they did not comply with all safety regulations — from DOT inspectors. Whereas all U.S. carriers had a vehicle “out-of-service” rate of 21.6%, all Mexican carriers had a rate of 20.7% and Mexican carriers in the pilot program had a rate of 7.3%………………….
Mexico says it will retaliate, and if it’s smart it will hit U.S. producers in strategic markets. This will be bad for Mexican consumers, but if constituents of protectionist U.S. senators feel the pain, it might succeed in changing attitudes in Congress. Given the political muscle of the Teamsters, there aren’t many other options…….
After nine years of expecting the United States to live up to the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and of being rewarded finally with a step in the opposite direction, Mexico has responded with a crushing set of tariffs that will punish everyone from Oregon potato farmers to independent truckers……..
The Teamsters, which represent many truckers, helped persuade the White House and the Democrat-dominated Congress to stop the cross-border trucking program, which was supposed to take effect in 2000. The union argued, disingenuously, that Mexican trucks and drivers aren’t safe enough to drive American roads, even though the evidence suggests the opposite. (Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a report that found that Mexican freight carriers had fewer accidents and less downtime than their U.S. counterparts,…….
Free Trade: Congressional Democrats have a bad habit of viewing treaty obligations as favors, forgetting that trade is a two-way street. Now that they’ve broken NAFTA, the Mexicans are about to educate them…….
Now the Democrats in Congress have put Obama in a real bind. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a stubbornly protectionist Democrat from North Dakota, inserted a provision into the recently passed omnibus spending bill that erased the funding for a pilot program allowing Mexican truckers to haul goods into the U.S. interior. The Mexican government has claimed, correctly, that this provision violates NAFTA, and it has announced that it will retaliate by levying tariffs on a range of U.S. agricultural and industrial goods……..
“It is a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a case of protectionism, at a time when the Obama administration is messaging to the rest of the world not to succumb to the temptations of protectionism as a way to trigger a recovery,” said Armand Peschard-Sverdup, a Mexico expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington……….
f you thought AIG was an example of Democratic incompetence over a relative triviality, look at this. There are over 6.5 million trucks in the United States. This program allows 98 Mexican trucks to roam among them. And over that, they are willing to risk a trade war with Mexico.
FROM FOX NEWS “FAIR and BALANCED”
TRADE WAR WITH MEXICO
This policy, it’s wrong as a matter of legality, it’s wrong diplomatically, it’s wrong economically. It is just wrong every way you look at it.
And the way we work with Mexico now n the trucking situation is absurd. It’s like something out of Monty Python. The Mexican trucks have to stop 20 miles or so over the border in a commercial zone, drop their goods off, then they go on short haul trucks, then they eventually go to domestic U.S. trucks and then they can be delivered.
It’s a system that makes zero sense. But this is all about politics. And I’m afraid if Obama has the choice between needlessly antagonizing a neighbor or pleasing the teamsters, and a very political choice, he will take the teamsters.
The truck drivers’ argument that Mexican trucks are unsafe is spurious — a flimsy cover for protectionism. Data from the Department of Transportation show that Mexican trucks and drivers operating in the United States — along the border and in the pilot program — have a better inspection record, with fewer violations, than their American counterparts……………….
He can start by persuading Congress to revive the truck pilot program or start a new one. And he must make clear that — sometime soon — all properly inspected Mexican trucks must be able to work throughout the country, as Nafta requires. That would not only solve this trade spat, but it would provide the world with needed reassurance that the United States will stand by its trade agreements in these difficult times.
If toothpaste wants to come down from Minnesota, it’s probably going to be stored somewhere in Texas, or it’s going to get shipped through a rail yard in Texas, or a truck driver is going to drive it through Texas. Whether it’s our restaurants, our hotels, our warehouses, or our boats, it will be felt in Texas,”….
There’s a growing concern about the hypocrisy of trade policy where we (the United States) say, ‘Do as we say, not as we do,”‘ said Kevin Gallagher, an economist and international relations professor at Boston University who has written three books on NAFTA. “I think countries are getting a little fed up with that double standard.”……..
The best way to avoid having such childish tit-for-tat protectionism escalate into an all-out trade war when international trade is already declining precipitously is for Congress to rescind this foolish move…..
FROM THE BLOG “GDCRITTER”
Sign a Budget, Breach a Treaty
That wasn’t good enough to satisfy the Teamsters Union, which has consistently demanded this treaty provision be changed or breached. The Teamsters claimed their objection is based on safety concerns, but their real objection is that the Mexican truck drivers don’t pay them. Now they have Congress and the White House doing their bidding, and they are willing to go to war over 98 trucks. (If safety were really their concern, they would have dropped their objection — the Mexican trucks have turned out to be safer than their US counterparts.)…………………..
When the U.S. closed the southern border to Mexican trucking last week — in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement — Mexico promised to retaliate. Yesterday it did, releasing a list of 89 U.S. products that will face new tariffs of 10% to 45%.
Mexico’s decision wasn’t taken lightly. Since 1995, three successive Mexican administrations have worked to get the U.S. to respect its Nafta obligation of allowing long-haul trucks across the border. In 2007 the two countries agreed to a pilot program that permitted a limited number of Mexican carriers into the U.S. under rigid safety regulations. After 18 months that program proved that Mexican carriers are as safe as their U.S. counterparts. That was bad news for the anti-competition Teamsters union, and last week it got Congress to kill the pilot program. Yesterday Mexico fired back.
Trade wars are never pretty. But given the downturn in demand that already exists in the U.S. economy, this one could be ugly, and dangerous……………………
The Teamsters Union had a fair bit to do with this violation of NAFTA. In the 1990s I worked at a state hospital in Illinois. I have no idea why the Teamsters was the union of record for a lot of the employees. I do know that Union drivers earned more than practically anybody else on staff who wasn’t a member of the Teamsters and spent many days just hanging out on the grounds. I know that Teamsters were responsible for various chores and that the rest of us were forbidden, for instance, to change our own light bulbs. And when lightbulbs needed to be changed, two Teamsters came which lead, of course, to the well-worn joke about how many Teamsters it took to change a light bulb………
THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE quoted in a newspaper from Tbilisi Georgia (Russia)
U.S. Chamber Comments on Cross-Border Trucking with Mexico
“It’s profoundly disappointing the U.S. hasn’t met its commitment to open our borders to Mexican trucks — with full reciprocity for U.S. carriers. Doing so would reduce congestion and air pollution at the U.S.-Mexico border while promoting growth and jobs.
“Every Mexican truck entering the U.S. must meet every U.S. safety requirement, so these are some of the most inspected trucks anywhere in the world. Since the pilot project was launched, their safety record has been outstanding.
“We have no credibility calling on other countries to meet their trade obligations if we refuse to keep our own. Mexico is our second largest export market in the world, and it’s very unfortunate we’ve been unable to resolve this issue after more than a decade.
“The Chamber is committed to working with our friends in Congress and in Mexico to expedite a thoughtful deal that leads to open borders as our two countries agreed more than 15 years ago.”
The U.S. Inspector General had found that the trucks were substandard and that the Mexican drivers were not held to the same standards as their American counterparts. While it was determined a few years ago for the program to halt, President Bush ignored that law. With the former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, the government blatantly broke the law and simultaneously put a lot of Americans in danger……
And leaving the least and most insignificant comment for last……
FROM the reality challenged and delusional mind of TEAMSTER PRESIDENT JAMES HOFFA the lies continue…. (He has to pay a newswire service to put his statement out by the way)
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today said the Mexican government’s threat to raise tariffs on U.S. exports is an absurd overreaction to the shutdown of the unsafe cross-border trucking pilot program……
“The U.S. needs to stop agreeing to trade deals like NAFTA that allow our own safety standards to deteriorate,” Hoffa said…….
So who is right and who is wrong? On one side of the issue is noted economists, editors, writers, reporters, analysts and common folk who see through Hoffa’s BS and on the other side is a delusional little man trying to fill his daddy’s shoes and failing miserably and his allies such as Todd Spencer of OOIDA, who has used this issue to bolster his membership preying on the irrational and unfounded fears of his members. Organizations like Public Citizen and other self appointed watchdog groups who use this issue to raise funds for their organizations, again using fear. And how about the anti immigration groups like FAIR, a nativist hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center who states in their 2009 Agenda against Immmigration Reform that one of their goals is stopping ANY Mexican Cross Border Program.
You decide! Don’t let special interest groups, protectionists, isolationists, xenophobes and all the other loony toons who have latched onto this issue speak for you! You have a mind, use it! The information is here, it is factual.
Take a moment to call you Congressman or Senator and DEMAND that the Mexican Cross Border Demonstration Program is reinstated under the same rules as before, which seemed to work perfectly well.
The number to the Capitol Switchboard is (202)224-3121. Give them your zip code and they will connect you to your Senator or Representative. Or you can use this ONLINE CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY
Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.
After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: “Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose (S.___/H.R.___).”
You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your senators’ or representative’s position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.