With the announcement of renewed tariff’s, oppositions spin in full force

It didn’t take long for the opponents of Mexican trucks, or for that matter, anything Mexican to come out with their discredited rants opposing the US fulfilling its obligation to allow Mexican trucks access to US roadways in the same manner Canadian trucks have been allowed for more than 10 years.

Teamster President James Hoffa was the first out of the chute with his tired sophomoric and overused rhetoric.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today urged the federal government to challenge Mexico’s decision to subject more U.S. imports to tariffs because of the ban on allowing unsafe Mexican trucks to cross the border……..

Restarting the unsafe cross-border trucking pilot program would cost an estimated $500 million,……..

it would be foolish to subject U.S. taxpayers to such an expensive and very unsafe program,” Hoffa said. “Instead of slapping additional tariffs on U.S. goods, Mexico should be living up to its end of the bargain by making sure its drivers and trucks are safe enough to use our highways.”…

I wonder if anyone pays any attention to this idiot anymore, especially since the trucks and their drivers have been shown to be as safe and in some cases safe than their US counterparts. But, you lie about something long enough, you begin to consider it the truth, despite facts that prove the contrary.

Of course, OOIDA had to chime in with their debunked claims which closely parallel Hoffa’s.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) calls upon the Obama Administration to stand up to Mexico’s bullying tariff tactics and start fighting for the livelihoods of Americans.

“If the U.S. trade representative had called out Mexico for their illegal tariffs more than a year ago, we would not be in this situation,” said OOIDA’s Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “It was irresponsible to allow it to go on for this long.”

“These bullying tactics should not be tolerated. The onus is on Mexico to raise safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry,” added Spencer. “We should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed into lowering our standards.”

Trucking companies in the United States are required to comply with ever-increasing safety regulations that significantly increase their costs of operations. Mexico does not have a similar regulatory regimen and therefore its companies do not contend with the corresponding costs that encumber U.S. counterparts.

Same crap Spencer has been mouthing off about for years. There is nothing illegal about the tariff’s according to the 1999 NAFTA arbitration ruling, which found the US at fault for not following through on their treaty obligations. The tariffs are allowed under the agreement. The reason our trade representative does not challenge them is because he knows we are in the wrong.

And there is nothing in NAFTA requiring the US to lower or adjust their standards. Nor is their anything that says Mexico’s regulations must mirror those of the US. Mexico simply is required to MEET AND COMPLY with OUR LAWS AND REGULATIONS, when they cross the border into this country. The 18 month pilot program and other data shows they have complied and are capable of continued compliance.

Mexico Is Right To Retaliate Over U.S. Ban On Mexican Trucks

Forbes magazine acknowledges that Mexico has the right, to impose these tariffs. As Forbes describes it;

The Mexican government announced Monday that it will expand the list of U.S. products subject to punitive import duties in retaliation for a brazen, 15-year-long refusal of the United States to honor its NAFTA commitment to allow Mexican long-haul trucks to compete in the U.S. market. Given continued U.S. intransigence on the issue, Mexico’s decision is understandable, if not laudable……

Exactly correct!

The dispute is not very complicated. Under the terms of the deal, Mexican trucks were to have been able to compete in U.S. border states by 1995, and throughout the United States by 2000. But President Clinton, at the behest of the Teamsters union, suspended implementation of the trucking provision on the grounds that Mexican trucks weren’t safe enough for U.S. highways………..

In response to the NAFTA decision, Congress stipulated 22 safety requirements that Mexican trucks had to satisfy in order to gain access to the U.S. market. But before the U.S. Department of Transportation could grant any permits to Mexican truckers, in 2002, environmental and labor groups filed a lawsuit to block implementation on the grounds that the regulations violated U.S. environmental law.

In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down the truck ban, and soon after a government pilot program was developed to allow a limited number of Mexican trucks to serve the U.S. market. But funding for the pilot program was cut off by a Teamsters-friendly Congress in 2008, which effectively put the U.S. market off limits to Mexican trucks once again–and the United States squarely in violation of its NAFTA obligations, again.

In August 2009, after it became apparent that the administration and Congress preferred the economic cost of the trucking ban to the political cost of crossing the Teamsters, the Mexican government tried to change the equation by imposing $2.4 billion in retaliatory duties on about 90 U.S. products. A Mexican trucking association also filed a $6-billion lawsuit against the U.S. government.

The Mexican government is right to retaliate, and to expand the list of products subject to punitive duties. Of course, retaliation hurts innocents, like U.S. businesses and workers, and Mexican businesses and consumers, who have nothing to do with the central dispute. And it increases the amount of red tape and the role of governments in international trade. But retaliation–when authorized by agreement and properly targeted–can also be an effective tool in promoting trade liberalization, reducing red tape, and diminishing the impositions of government.

It is by changing the political calculus that retaliation can be effective. Thus far, U.S. politicians have found the economic costs of the Mexican trucking ban and the retaliation to be tolerable (for themselves)–at least relative to the expected political costs from doing the right thing by ending the ban. By expanding the list to include other products, like oranges, the Mexicans hope to impress upon other U.S. interests, like the citrus industry in a very important swing state, that they have dogs in this fight as well.

Between the rising costs on the economic side of the equation and the diminishing political benefits on the other, support among politicians for the truck ban should dissipate.

The Obama administration’s failure to connect the dots is surprising. Its fealty to the Teamsters directly undermines the lofty goals of its National Export Initiative, which seeks to double U.S. exports in five years. On trade policy, the administration appears yet to fully grasp that the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the ankle bone, etc. When you restrict imports (in the immediate case, imports of Mexican trucking services), you restrict exports.

The rising economic and political costs of the truck ban suggest that something’s going to have to give soon. By amplifying the stakes, the Mexicans are right to hasten that day….

Exactly right in their assessment. But the obstructionists such as the Teamster and OOIDA prefer to see Americans by the 10’s of 1000’s being put out of work and our ag industry lose market share to keep Mexican trucks off our highways.

Interestingly enough, Many of the trucks that participated in the pilot program still have unlimited access to US highways through subsidiaries and dual registration. The losers are US companies who have been banned from Mexico’s highways until Mexican trucks are given equal access.
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