Cross-Border Trucking Program Announced
July 06, 2011
U.S. and Mexican officials today signed agreements resolving the cross-border trucking dispute that had resulted in punitive tariffs imposed two years ago against the U.S. for violating the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, setting up a long-haul, cross-border trucking program.
Mexican trucks like this one will soon be allowed to deliver in the U.S., provided safety restrictions are met. (Photo courtesy Mexico Trucker Online.)
After the previous cross-border trucking program was terminated in March 2009, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other Obama Administration officials met with lawmakers, safety advocates, industry representatives and others to address a broad range of concerns, which the DOT took into account as it worked with Mexico to develop a new program. LaHood says the final program published today addresses the recommendations of over 2,000 commenters to the proposal issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in April.
Mexican trucks in the program will be required to comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must have electronic monitoring systems to track hours-of-service compliance. The DOT will review the complete driving record of each driver and require all drug testing samples to be analyzed in Department of Health and Human Services-certified laboratories located in the U.S. The department will also require drivers to undergo an assessment of their ability to understand the English language and U.S. traffic signs. The new agreement also ensures that Mexico will provide reciprocal authority for U.S. carriers to engage in cross-border long-haul operations into that country.
FMCSA does not anticipate that any Mexico- domiciled motor carrier seeking participation in the pilot program will receive its provisional operating authority before the first weeks of August 2011.
Mexico will soon lift retaliatory tariffs on more than $2 billion in U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products, which U.S. officials say will provide opportunities to increase U.S. exports to Mexico and expanding job creation in the U.S. The agreement also provides that Mexico will suspend 50 percent of the retaliatory tariffs within 10 days. Mexico will suspend the remainder of the tariffs within five days of the first Mexican trucking company receiving its U.S. operating authority. For more information, read the Federal Register Notice online. Watch Truckinginfo.com for more details and analysis.