U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexico President Felipe Calderon announced yesterday that they have come up with a solution that will “allow for the establishment of 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.” Mexico will suspend 50% of its retaliatory tariffs when the new agreement is signed (60 day estimate) and the other 50% when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority under the program. President Calderon is wise to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain before taking down the tariffs. Negotiators from both sides are working on a draft agreement that the DOT will review with Congress and put out for public comment. It is unlikely that we will be seeing the benefits of this new compromise any time soon. While details are still being worked out, at least some components of the proposal are known. Mexican truckers will be required to operate with Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) that ensure compliance with U.S. hours of service regulations and to ensure that the trucks only haul freight to and from Mexico, not U.S. domestic freight.
Under the agreement, Mexico would eventually lift tariffs it placed on dozens of U.S. products in response to the banning of its trucks from U.S. roads, AP said.Leaders from both countries will negotiate further details of the plan, which will be phased in, and the deal will require approval from the U.S. Congress before it takes effect, Bloomberg reported.American Trucking Associations is “pleased” that the leaders have come to an agreement, President Bill Graves said in a statement.“When properly implemented, NAFTA’s trucking provisions should evolve to allow for a more efficient, safe and secure environment for cross-border operations between the U.S. and Mexico,” Graves said.The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has consistently opposed the plan, said in a statement it was “outraged” by the proposed agreement.“For all the president’s talk of helping small businesses survive, his administration is sure doing their best to destroy small trucking companies and the drivers they employ,” OOIDA said.