Obama, Calderon Announce Border Trucking Agreement

Mexican trucks would be able to operate beyond the U.S.-Mexico border zone under agreement announced by U.S. and Mexican leaders. (Photo courtesy Mexicotrucker.com)

By Truckinginfo.com Staff

President Obama and President Calderon of Mexico yesterday made official their commitment to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute between the two countries.

The plan, the outline of which was unveiled in January, calls for a program similar to the pilot project that Congress killed in 2009. The cut-off of that project led to a series of tariff actions by Mexico in retaliation for U.S. violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, under which the U.S. is supposed to permit long-distance trucking.

Obama and Calderon discussed this issue and others at the White House yesterday. According to a White House announcement, they agreed on concept to establish “a reciprocal, phased-in program built on the highest safety standards that will authorize both Mexican and United States long-haul carriers to engage in cross-border operations under NAFTA.”

When a final agreement is reached, possibly this spring, Mexico will suspend its retaliatory tariffs in stages, the White House said. It will start reducing tariffs by 50 percent at the signing of an agreement and will suspend the remaining 50 percent when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority under the program.

“U.S. and Mexican negotiators are continuing to work through the remaining issues and expect to have a draft final agreement in place very soon,” the White House said. When the details are worked out, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Trade Representative will confer with Congress.

A background document on the concept outlines three elements: pre-operations vetting, monitoring of operations and communications to the public and Congress. Neither hazmat carriers nor buses would be permitted.

Pre-operations vetting would include an application process in which the number of participants in the first phase of the program would be limited to ensure oversight, subject to agreement with Mexico.

This provision echoes the 2007 Bush administration approach of beginning the opening process with a demonstration program under which a limited number of U.S. and Mexican carriers could conduct business across the border. The idea was to test the effectiveness of a safety management system devised by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as a prelude to fully opening the border.

The vetting and inspection processes in the concept also echo what FMCSA has done in the past.
Included are a pre-authority safety audit in which the agency would review the Mexican carrier’s safety management program and the records of drivers who would be crossing the border, including their Mexican federal and state records. The drivers would be tested for English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. traffic laws. Mexican carriers’ safety performance in Mexico would be reviewed, and the audit would include inspections of the trucks for U.S. safety and emissions compliance.

The operations element of the concept provides for inspections – including inspections each time a truck crosses the border, for a period of time to be negotiated – and reviews to follow up on the initial screening review. A Mexican carrier would have to clear a Compliance Review and earn a Satisfactory Safety Rating in order to get full operating authority. Insurance would be monitored and the agency could conduct compliance reviews of Mexican drug and alcohol testing facilities.
The communications program would include public notice and an opportunity for comment, a web site at the FMCSA home page, creation of an advisory committee and period reports to Congress – all elements of the earlier pilot program.

Printer Friendly Version
Email This Story
RSS
Bookmark and Share

International: Related News

3/4/2011 – Obama, Calderon Announce Border Trucking Agreement

President Obama and President Calderon of Mexico yesterday made official their commitment to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute between the two countries.

The plan, the outline of which was unveiled in January, calls for a program similar to the pilot project that Congress killed in 2009.
More

2/7/2011 – “New Vision” for U.S.-Canada Border

President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met last week to kick off a longer-term negotiation on border issues. The two signed a pact Friday calling for greater U.S.-Canada cooperation in trade and security….
More

2/2/2011 – November NAFTA Surface Trade Up 15.5 Percent From Previous Year

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico was 15.5 percent higher in November 2010 than in November 2009, reaching $68.1 billion,…
More

1/24/2011 – Clinton to Talk about Cross-Border Trucking in Mexico Meetings

Cross-border trucking will be one of the things on the agenda today as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Mexico’s foreign minister in Mexico today….
More

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.