Cross Border Trucking with Mexico – “It’s going to happen, There is no way to stop it”

Mexican truck in Nuevo Laredo
You'll soon being seeing safe, modern Mexican rigs driven by professional drivers on US highways as the US finally complies with it's obligations under NAFTA

During the scheduled meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in Alexandria Virginia yesterday, those were the words of  Carlos Sesma, an attorney representing Mexican trucking interests before the committee.

And Sesma was correct.

The MCSAC is a subcommittee of the FMCSA charged with overseeing the Mexican Cross Border Pilot Program.

OOIDA Executive Vice-President Todd Spencer who is a member of the committee was making the usual asinine and totally false claims about the program.

“What’s behind this is access to cheaper sources of labor,” Spencer claimed after the meeting, repeating the thoroughly debunked claim that it will put American jobs at risk and raises numerous safety concerns.

Mexican trucks have historically shown to have a lower percentage of Out of Service violations for vehicles and drivers than their US counterparts.

A representative of the Teamsters Union who sits on the committee,  Lamont Byrd, director of safety and health for the Teamsters union, said he had concerns also, but refused to elaborate on what they might be. (As if we can’t guess)

But the agreement will not take jobs from U.S. truckers, Sesma said, because Mexican drivers won’t stay in this country for work. As for safety, he said, cross-border truckers from Mexico are from areas near the U.S., so most read and speak English and understand U.S. traffic laws.

Bill Quade, a program administrator for the FMCSA, countered,  “I suspect the Mexican government will put billions of dollars of tariffs back onto U.S. goods, if the program is delayed again.”  Quade is correct.

Mexico reserved the right to reestablish the $2.5 billion dollars in legal tariff’s against US exports they put on US produced goods and agricultural products when the Obama Administration caved to pressure from union interests and reneged and defunded the previous highly successful cross border demonstration project. Those tariff’s cost US workers 25,000 jobs and more than 14% market share in the agriculture sector.

Though all the misinformation and hysteria being promoted by the Teamsters and OOIDA, Quade also revealed that to date, only 5 Mexican trucking companies had submitted applications to participate in the program.

Carlos Sesma said the creation of an open border for commerce is inevitable, which is why the agreement makes practical sense. He said the current method of carrying long-distance freight across the border, in which a truck drops a trailer and another picks it up, is inefficient.

It also makes practical sense as it put the United States in compliance with it’s international obligations and with a promise made and evaded for more than 17 years.

But that wasn’t good enough for Spencer, who continued with his naysaying and fear mongering.

Spencer characterized Sesma’s statement  “unbelievably exaggerated.” He questioned the ability of U.S. and Mexican states to police drivers with poor records and he claimed that the scarcity of low-sulfur diesel in Mexico, which is needed for most newer-model U.S. trucks, would be a handicap for American truckers trying to penetrate the Mexican market.

“Any real, meaningful truck travel in Mexico isn’t going to be possible,” Spencer said.

Spencer is the master of “unbelievable exaggeration”.  As a member of the committee, Spencer is well aware of the FMCSA and individual states ability to access Mexican driver databases and that ultra low sulfur diesel is readily available in Mexico along the lanes that US truckers would run, not that they would need to buy any.

And Spencer ignored the fact that 4 US trucking companies are still successfully and very profitably operating in Mexico after being allowed access under the 2007 cross border trucking agreement with Mexico. That’s right folks! When the US was hurrying to renege on our obligations with Mexico in 2009 by de-funding the previous program, Mexico allowed continuous operation by US participants in their country, to the consternation of CANACAR, the association which represents the majority of major Mexican trucking firms.

OOIDA’s Mark Reddig said in a recent blog entry;

Let me be clear about one thing, though. We intend to fight the opening of this border tooth and nail, with every ounce of energy we have. And we intend to win.

So far, not only have we won every round, but in fact we’ve had most of Congress and numerous other organizations with us.

If you call “winning” using lies, fear mongering, misinformation and other underhanded tactics, winning, then perhaps they have, but it’s nothing to be proud about, but this time fat boy, you lose!
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