NAFTA compliance, finally / Obama will end 17-year ban on Mexican trucks

Mexican Truck Hwy 2
Safe Mexican carriers such as this one will soon be seen on US highways as the Obama administration does the right thing and fulfills our promises under NAFTA. The time for the lies, fear mongering and hysteria is over with.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified by Congress almost 17 years ago. It’s about time the United States began honoring a key part of it. A sticking point in the treaty has been the provision allowing truckers from Mexico, Canada and the United States cross-border access to each nation’s highways.

The United States allowed Canadian truckers access, but kept out Mexican trucks. Democratic lawmakers claimed they were worried about “safety concerns” related to the Mexican trucks. But what they were really worried about was how best to cater to labor unions and address the Teamsters’ concerns that Mexican truckers represented unwelcome competition.

Under the current system, Teamsters are essentially allowed to poach the contracts of Mexican truckers. Anyone hauling cargo north from Mexico can only cross the U.S.-Mexico border on short trips. For longer excursions, the Mexican trucker has to offload the cargo onto a U.S. truck, which carries it the rest of the way. This has been quite a boondoggle for U.S. truckers, and naturally they want to preserve it. And so, even though it meant violating NAFTA, Democrats have worked hard to keep Mexican trucks off U.S. highways.

Now, apparently, the Obama administration is about to reverse course. During a hearing Thursday of a Senate subcommittee, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration was “very close” to announcing a plan that would resolve the cross-border trucking dispute with Mexico. Lahood told the committee that President Barack Obama intends to “restart this program” and honor the United States’ obligation under NAFTA.

We certainly hope this is the case. Ducking our international responsibilities is never a good idea. It’s time to make this right, and to hold up our end of the NAFTA bargain

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