San Antonio Express News Editorial – U.S. should honor trucking provision

The Senate and the House approved the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.

If a nation decides to withdraw from NAFTA, the agreement specifies a six-month notification process.

A president, with the support of Congress, can initiate this process. And a president, with the support of Congress, can attempt to renegotiate NAFTA.

What a president and Congress can’t do is willy-nilly abrogate provisions they decide are not to their liking.

But that’s exactly what Congress has been trying to do for 15 years by obstructing a cross-border trucking provision.

The provision hasn’t been a problem on America’s northern border. Canadian truckers have long been able to carry long hauls into the United States.

But Mexican trucks must still offload their cargoes within 25 miles of the border. The transfer adds time and expense to American imports. Seventy-five percent of U.S. trade with Mexico moves by truck.

Opponents of the trucking provision raised legitimate concerns about the safety and environmental impact of Mexican trucks. So the Department of Transportation launched a program last year to test a limited number of Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.

The trucks are subject to safety audits by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspectors. They must meet the same safety standards as American trucks. Mexican drivers must obtain insurance from U.S.-licensed firms.

What the test program has demonstrated thus far is that participating Mexican trucks have safety records as good as or better than American trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced a two-year extension of the program.

But rather than look at the data, honor a commitment and expand the program, some Democrats in Congress beholden to the Teamsters want to kill it.

Aside from the disingenuous arguments and the added costs for American consumers, the congressional effort to abrogate NAFTA devalues the obligations of the United States with all nations.

Corrupt dictatorships simply tear up agreements on a whim. The U.S. government honors its pledges. At least it should.
Wow! directly on the heels of my rather well written opinion of [cref james-p-hoffa-obsessed-with-mexican-trucks-and-clueless-of-the-truth Jimmy Hoffa as his obsession with the Cross Border Program] a well respected newspaper joins the legion of other news organizations as well as business and civic groups who support the efforts of the FMCSA, and in the process further validate the existance of our small effort here.