USA TODAY COUNTERPOINT – James P. Hoffa repeats the same tired propaganda.

James Hoffa - Oit of touch with reality
James Hoffa - Oit of touch with reality
In a counterpoint to the excellent opinion USA TODAY offered entitled Mexican truck ban hurts U.S. exporters, consumers, Teamster’s President and chief blow hard James P. Hoffa offered his same old, tired, debunked opinions

For those new to this site, I’m going to highlight the lies, exaggerations and totally untrue claims of Hoffa.

In his counterpoint titled Keep Mexican trucks out Hoffa claims,

NAFTA is a bad trade deal for many reasons. It cost millions of U.S. jobs and lowered wages for average Americans. It has also threatened to undermine highway safety.

The Teamsters Union is strongly against opening the Mexican border to unsafe trucks.

No one can dispute that Mexico is a more dangerous place to drive than the USA is. In fact, a Feb. 20 State Department travel alert warns U.S. citizens about driving in Mexico. It’s not just that drug violence cost 7,000 lives last year, or that according to a recent article in The Washington Times, Hezbollah is smuggling drugs and people here from Mexico. It’s that Mexican trucks and drivers aren’t required to meet the same safety standards as U.S. trucks and drivers.

Mexican trucks are older, dirtier and more dangerous than American trucks. American truck drivers are taken off the road if they commit a serious traffic violation in their personal vehicle. That’s not so in Mexico. Limits on the hours a driver can spend behind the wheel are ignored in Mexico.

American truck drivers are routinely tested for drugs and alcohol using labs that meet rigorous federal standards. Mexico still has no certified lab to test specimens, and the collection and custody procedures have been called into question by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general.

The Bush administration opened the border to unsafe Mexican trucks with a pilot program in 2007. A few of the safest trucks were handpicked to participate, and reportedly $500 million was spent on the program. Even then, U.S. officials couldn’t be sure when a participating Mexican truck entered the country or where it went. So few trucks participated that the inspector general reported that no conclusions could be made about their safety record.

Congress recently shut the border to Mexican trucks, and Mexico retaliated by raising some tariffs. But it’s nonsense to claim that the U.S. is being protectionist. When NAFTA was passed in 1994, the U.S. had a $1 billion trade surplus with Mexico. Last year, our trade deficit with Mexico was $64 billion.

In 2001, a tribunal ruled that NAFTA lets the U.S. enforce safety standards. When Mexico keeps its end of the bargain by raising safety standards, we can keep ours.

James P. Hoffa is general president and blow hard of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.