BLOCKING MEXICAN TRUCKS
- Here's an interesting article published today in the New York Times.
Blocking Mexican Trucks
Published: September 11, 2007
The New York Times
One way the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to
encourage free and efficient trade was by allowing long-haul trucks
from Canada, Mexico and the United States to deliver goods throughout
the three countries. Unfortunately, more than a decade later the
Teamsters union, the Sierra Club and their allies in Congress are
still working to keep Mexican trucks out.
The Teamsters and their environmental allies claim that the trucks
aren't safe and are dirty. A new pilot program, however, would
require that any Mexican trucks approved for entry into the United
States be inspected for safety every three months. Environmental
regulations that apply to American trucks would also apply to Mexican
That's not enough to satisfy the Teamsters, which, we suspect, are
just trying to stave off the competition. And it's not been enough
for the Sierra Club, which doesn't trust the Bush administration — or
the Clinton administration before that — to enforce environmental
That stubbornness is counterproductive. Keeping Mexican trucks out
only keeps transport costs higher, harming American businesses and
consumers. It sends Mexico the message that the United States doesn't
stand by its commitments, and it reinforces suspicions that when it
comes to free trade, the United States only likes it one way.
Last week, the Department of Transportation gave the first Mexican
trucking company permission to operate under a one-year pilot program
that would allow roughly 500 trucks from 100 Mexican carriers onto
American highways. Congress seems determined to block that progress.
Today, the Senate is scheduled to vote on an amendment, filed by
Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, that would deny
financing for the pilot program next year. The House has already
approved the cutoff.
It is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of Mexican trucks —
or any trucks — driving on American highways. This was underscored
yesterday by the spectacular crash and explosion of a truck carrying
explosives in northern Mexico that killed at least 37 people. The
pilot program would not allow trucks carrying hazardous loads into
the country. And the Mexican long-haul fleet is much more modern than
its critics' caricatures.
Guaranteeing highway safety does not require undermining the nation's
free trade agreements or its relationship with Mexico. It is time for
Congress to let Mexican trucks through.