Mexico retaliates against truck ban
Mexico said Monday it will boost tariffs imports of about 90 U.S. agricultural and industrial products in retaliation for a decision last week to cancel a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to move goods in the United States.
The Bush administration started the pilot program, but Congress inserted a provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 prohibiting the Transportation Department from using any funds to continue to fund the program.
Mexico said the U.S. decision violates a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that was supposed to have allowed cross-border trucking years ago.
Press reports say Mexican officials said Monday that the retaliatory tariffs would affect about $2.4 billion in trade, but they did not name specific products or the amounts by which import tariffs will increase.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Donohue said it was “profoundly disappointing the U.S. hasn't met its commitment to open our borders to Mexican trucks — with full reciprocity for U.S. carriers. Doing so would reduce congestion and air pollution at the U.S.-Mexico border while promoting growth and jobs.”
He said 'every Mexican truck entering the U.S. must meet every U.S. safety requirement, so these are some of the most inspected trucks anywhere in the world. Since the pilot project was launched, their safety record has been outstanding.”
'We have no credibility calling on other countries to meet their trade obligations if we refuse to keep our own,” Donohue added.
Meanwhile the Teamsters said the Mexican government’s threat to raise tariffs on U.S. exports was an “absurd overreaction.”
“The right response from Mexico would be to make sure its drivers and trucks are safe enough to use our highways without endangering our drivers,” said Teamster President Jim Hoffa. “The border must stay closed until Mexico holds up its end of the bargain.”